Meditation is for anyone obviously, not just the melancholy. I don’t know if my particular mix of moods is common among humans or not, but I’m a sort of pessimistic pragmatist with moments of optimism. I find it difficult to remain excited about things, if in fact I somehow managed to get excited about them in the first place. I overthink almost everything, I ruminate over the past constantly, and I worry about every possible thing that could happen in the future. None of these habits are helpful in my life and I’ve tried various ways to be less of a buzz-kill to my own existence, often with some good outcomes, but I never sustain it.
My modus operandi in life, I would say, is that of phases. I go through phases with regularity, although if something really works for me I often continue on with it but without the fresh-phase-gusto. So many times I’ve tried to keep a routine of cleaning my flat to a really high standard and then realise there are so many far better things to be doing with my time than scrubbing tiles on a weekly basis. So I don’t keep a spotless flat, but I did adopt some habits that make cleaning easier and less of a drag to do. So the phase passes but elements remain.
I wish I was more perpetually motivated, but I’m just not…aah a great lament. To this end, I have realised that when I discover something new I’d like to do, I’m consciously aware it’s probably a phase and I need to pull back on my reckless enthusiasm. For instance, the financial outlay of coming up with the idea on Monday morning to start sewing, then buying a sewing machine and $500 worth of related paraphernalia on Monday afternoon. I hated sewing after 20 minutes and that was actually the catalyst for making a pact with myself and my bank account that all phases had to be commenced as cheaply as possible for a week or two, until I know whether I’ll continue it or not. This was an area I applied frugality to with great success actually!
One of the other things I know about myself is that I have a need to research the crap out of things I’m bringing into my life – whether it’s a couch or a new habit – until the amount of time I’ve spent researching instead of doing becomes a bit of a joke. I went from being crazily impulsive to overly academic. And I’m doing that right now, with meditation.
Meditation, my soon to be new phase, is something that will help me manage (or overcome if i’m lucky – but I don’t count on ever being lucky because…pessimism) my unhelpful habits and emotions. I don’t want to meditate and I’ve never wanted to, but I’m going to force myself to, even though I’m not looking forward to the inevitable; feeling immensely uncomfortable and like a failure for not being brilliant at meditation. I have a very active mind that rarely switches off, and whenever I try to it goes into overdrive and starts panicking about things, making concentration basically impossible. I also have this notion that I ‘don’t have time’ for meditation. For some reason I can spend five hours a day watching television but can’t spare 10 minutes to sit on my bum thinking probably the same nothing I think when I’m watching television like a zombie.
Nonetheless I’ve been researching meditation and know what I have to do…I even have a hippy floor cushion just begging me to sit on it for meditation instead of to put makeup on in front of the full length mirror. Despite all my recent research I don’t know where to start, or how to do it, and by which medium I’d like to be guided. I’ve simply been reading about people’s ‘meditation journeys’ and how it’s changed their life. Once I’m satisfied with what I’ve found out, and found probably a podcast to meditate with (so I don’t have to mess around firing up the laptop or messing with a CD), I will start a meditation challenge. I like to challenge myself to do things because frankly, if I don’t, I’d probably never get up to much with my life at all! It’s a way of compartmentalising something so it seems doable. “Well I only have to do it for a month and if I like it I’ll extend it, if I don’t, it was only a month”. Sometimes we have to trick ourselves into not being lazy or demotivated.
What are your experiences of meditation and what are your preferred methods of guidance (podcast, CD, YouTube, no guidance etc)?