I had a conversation today with a co-worker who was struggling with meditation. He wanted very much to develop a meditation practice but felt that as soon as he tried to sit still, his mind would start wandering and he felt that was failure, so he’d give up. We discussed that for most people, this is the experience. We’re urban athletes and yogis and it’s hard to sit still at all, let alone sit and try to meditate. Once we let go of that as the ‘end goal’ and just be where we are, even if that means our mind is running around all over the place, we get some relief.
Have you ever run a race and felt like everything was firing at 100%? Or even just a run; it doesn’t even have to be a race. Or have you ever been at the beach and felt like you had no sense of time, you were just having such a great time. Or taken a walk in the woods. Or been on a yoga retreat or in a great class or workshop, where, when class was over you realize you lost a sense of time?
All these experiences simulate what it’s like to meditate. You’re connected to the present. You’re not aware of time. You’re not void of thoughts but you’re not focused on your thoughts. Athletes call it being in ‘the zone’ and make no mistake about it; they’re in meditation. Sure, they’re moving, but they’re connected, anchored in the present and in their bodies more than their minds.
I sent my colleague home with the assignment to set a timer for three minutes and to sit on the floor on a comfortable cushion, or even in a chair and close his eyes and just “be.” Let his mind do whatever it might , but sit for those 3 minutes. The journey of a perceived one thousand miles always must begin with a single step.
Today was a physical therapy day. My secret weapon, Chris, the therapist, is not thrilled with my description of my right shin but we’re watching it. Wonderful. We will see.