Notes from a novice meditator
In yesterday's post I said, "I think it's totally normal to suck at meditation, and if you think that you suck at it, you're probably doing it right."
Allow me to clarify.
If you have ever "tried to meditate" you might have had (or still are having) the same experience as me. I sit. Immediately there is a barrage of thoughts. I mean, I live with my own head all day, and here I am, trapped with only myself and my thoughts. It's bad enough sometimes to live with yourself just in a normal situation, but then to subject yourself to an onslaught starring every thought, inclination, regret, and wondering you've had all day or ever. On a good day, it can be tiring, and on a bad day it can be downright painful. Please tell me this has happened to you.
Turns out, all those super annoying thoughts that crop up are just fits of tension releasing. You can't get down to the root of yourself, or your spiritual connection (or whatever it is to you personally) without disposing of all the mind junk. I am reminded of when I was working through the book The Artist's Way, where there is a practice of writing three pages every morning of whatever comes to mind. Just like that, I'm in a place where I think of meditation as kind of a cosmic brain dump.
Actually, maybe it's more of like a cosmic recycling program. All these weird random thoughts that crop up, "Did I say the right thing?... What am I supposed to do next?... My ear itches... I wonder whatever happened to that person I knew once... Man I feel stupid... " and on and on... those aren't thoughts I need anymore. They're not part of me. They don't define me, and in fact I need to just toss them to get down to my most me-ness. And as I shrug them off and surrender them in meditation, God (or your inner self, or higher power, or whatever works for you) can refashion them and hand them back to me if there is any truth lurking within, or simply take away the clutter so I have more clarity.
I'd like to think that even if I don't have a life altering spiritual epiphany during my seated meditation, I am still "cleaning the glass" so that when I am looking out at a situation, I can, as Erich says, "have the bravery to do what your inner wisdom is suggesting."