Thursday, June 19, 2014

Finding Meditation at the Kitchen Sink

Lately, I've been finding the admonition to meditate nearly everywhere I look.  Articles, quotes, blog posts, and news bits, it seems the universe is telling me meditation is something I need in my life.  I don't love the word meditation - for me, it tends to bring on images of saints or very religious people sitting in silence.  It's a little eerie, a bit weird and the whole idea makes me a tad uncomfortable.  However, I can't deny the benefits that come from a still mind.  Connecting with my inner self, taking the time to analyze my feelings and thoughts, it's all very positive and an impetus to personal growth.  After all, how can I know which areas in my life I need to put work into if I never take the time to think about how things are going?  

I often have the desire to just let my mind be still, introspective, but then the moment is gone and I'm on to my next task.  I decided, after reading The Happiness Project, that meditation would be a good thing for me, if not life-changing.  How hard can it be, really, just to be still?  Turns out, it's quite difficult.  

The few times I've tried real meditation, I'll admit, I have failed at it.  Usually it goes something like this: sit quietly for a few minutes, begin to feel antsy, wonder how long I've been sitting here, watch the list in my mind grow of the things I should be doing, resolve to stick with it, sit still for another minute or two, get up and get going with my day; writing off the whole activity as something for calm people, which I do not consider myself to be.  The trouble was in the execution.  Whenever I sat down to meditate, either a thousand pointless thoughts came to mind or nothing at all.  It felt pointless, like I was trying to force my mind to do something it just wasn't into.  How does one still a moving mind?  How could I chase down my thoughts, capture them, and wrangle them up for even a short time?

I'm a fidgeter, a mover, a fast walker, a person who is not very good at being still.  This isn't something I dislike about myself, at least not most of the time.  I like being busy, getting things done.  I like moving fast.  I cannot walk at a leisurely pace despite many efforts (to the chagrin of my slow-walking husband).  I walk around when I'm on the phone, stand to watch television often, move from one activity to the next, working my way down my mental list of to-dos.  This is how I go through life.  

I realized something a few days ago, and it gave me a great sense of peace about this goal of meditation.  It was a bit of a breakthrough.  I realized I don't have to sit in silence to meditate.  I am already meditating daily, frequently in fact, and completely unintentionally.  As I clear out the dishwasher each morning, I talk to myself (okay, don't laugh! It's usually not out loud!).  And as I work my way through the day, the mundane routines of cooking, washing, cleaning up, making beds, mowing the lawn, doing laundry - all these things give my mind the space it needs to think about life, to look back on the day or week, to see things I need to change, or to remember something funny or beautiful.  These times are almost always the moments when I get an idea for a blog post, or for the next scene in my novel or solve a problem I've been unable to work through consciously.  These quiet-minded moments, when my subconscious is free to roam where it wants to, are when I do my soul searching, when I see things from outside myself; where I could be different, how I might become better.  It's not the typical idea of meditation, but it's my way of getting in touch with my myself, my heart, my life.  

I realized that don't have meditate like anyone else.  I can do what works for me.  I can keep a notepad handy to write down all my insights - right next to the kitchen sink. 

Tell me: Do you believe in meditation?  Practice it regularly?  What does meditation look like in your life?  Does it happen in the quiet silence of the morning, or at the kitchen sink during the day?


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