Okay, so it’s the end of class, the teacher turns up the music and you close your eyes. Ready to meditate.
Cue the birds chirping, waves crashing, twinkly harp sounds in the distance,
Isn’t this the part where you fall into blissful stillness? Your mind clears, the outside world falls away and you sit on your mat feeling like the Dalai Lama for the next fifteen minutes?
Yeah, me neither.
On the contrary, our minds tend to pick up the pace as soon as we tell them to chill. Here’s a few things that go through my mind when I hunker down to meditate:
- Okay, zen thoughts Stephanie, think zen thoughts. Inner peace. Connecting with the universe. The sound of silence. What does that even mean? Can silence HAVE a sound? Then how is it silent?
- No, focus. Just try focusing on your breath. Inhale. Exahale. Innnnhale. Exxxhale. Innn- I sound like Darth Vadar. Everyone must think I’m re-enacting a scene from Star Wars. “(heavy breathing) Luke, I am your father…”
- God, my hips are cramping. And my shoulders. And oh man, my neck. I need to crack it.
- Gotta remember to pick up more almond milk on the way home. And bread. Do we need toilet paper? I should have checked before I left.
- (quick peek at neighbour) How does she look so PEACEFUL? Just sitting there all shiny blonde curls and perfect posture; she literally looks like an angel. AND her make-up is still perfect. How is that even possible? That can’t be normal.
- Shit, I forgot to pay my phone bill.
- I wonder if I chose the right career path? What if I get bored? Will it be able to support me financially if I want to settle down and have kids? Do I even want kids? How much longer do I have until I have to start thinking about kids??
- Oh my god, who is breathing so LOUD?
- I wonder if the coffee shop guy thinks I’m cute. Does he think it’s weird that I drink so much chai? DO I drink too much chai?
- This has got to be the longest meditation ever. Literally, pages must be flying off the calendar right now. Please let this end soon, I really need to pee.
So truth: meditating isn’t always as zen as it’s made out to be. We tackle that crazy whirlwind in our minds just to get a glimpse of the beautiful stillness underneath. It’s worth it, but it takes time.
In the meantime, take comfort in the fact that the girl sitting next to you is probably working on her grocery list too.