A bad meditator

I am at once the worst candidate and the perfect candidate for a daily meditation practice.

The worst: take “zero free time in my day,” multiply by “I hate spending any time in idle thought,” and add a dose of “I obsess about getting enough sleep, but rarely do”– and perhaps you see why a regular meditation practice is something that feels like a bad fit.

And yet… it’s probably those same factors that make me the perfect candidate. After all, meditation should help me learn to enjoy idleness. It should help me be okay with the amount of sleep I’m getting (and perhaps enable me to enjoy a higher quality of sleep). And as for not having enough time in my day– well, something will have to be sacrificed.

My first few days of Meditation March saw me eager to get to bed, but “forced” to meditate first. It felt like a chore, something I had to check off my list before I could do the thing I actually wanted to do (sleep!). Since then, I have tried to find other times in my day to sneak in some meditation. My ferry ride has been a good opportunity. I have a half-hour ferry ride, twice a day, in which I normally do work or catch up on my reading. Instead of my normal routine, I have stopped myself after 20 minutes of activity, in order to meditate for the last ten.

My actual practice either entails a guided meditation (I’ve been using the “Buddhify” app, which offers short meditations for different times in your day) or my own meditation: focusing on my breath, while trying to clear my mind of other thoughts. I’m about 20% successful. But I think I’ll get better.

So far, I give myself the following grades¹:

Enthusiasm: B-

Focus: D

Diligence: A

My first small meditation success came a few days ago. I had an important meeting, and I felt very stressed for the 24 hours leading up to it. A few minutes before going in, I paused and gave myself 2 minutes to close my eyes and focus on my breath. This actually calmed me immensely, and it’s something I never would have thought to do before Meditation March. I win!

* * * * *

¹Of course, grading yourself at meditation is probably one of the least meditative things you can do.

 

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