Do you have moments when the world around you seems to still, when time stops, when your are focused so completely on a single thing that everything else is gone? It happens to me when I look through my view-finder on my camera. I adjust the focus with one hand, move my body for the best composition, breathe out, and stop thinking. Shooting the photograph is over in less than a second. But in that blink, I feel peaceful and whole.
I wish I could bottle that feeling, keep it tucked away for when I need it most. Imagine that. Peace when you need it most.
This is sort of how I see meditation. I see it as calm in the middle of turbulence. Solace where there is none. But really. How do you meditate? Here’s how I do it. I try to sit still somewhere quiet. I try to relax my muscles, and this I usually do well. I try to slow my breath, and I find that I can. And then I turn inward, trying to slow my every thought, trying to stop the ticking that threads my every thought together. And this where I fail miserably. The voices that read my to-do list, tell me where I need to be and when, that tell me what I should be doing are persistent, and I find myself eyes open wondering if I should move on to my next must-do.
I just read Learning to Love Silence over on Greatist. It felt familiar. I know some of the benefits of meditation. “Medically and scientifically speaking, meditation can help you de-stress, find balance, and calm your muscular and nervous systems,” writes Rachel Stroud. But I find sitting still in the silence of the moment to be painfully difficult. And she also writes, “My mind would race with questions: Am I doing this right? Should I spend my time doing something more productive? Occasionally I’d open my eyes, looking around the room, distracted. Or I’d find myself nodding off, too tired to focus on my breath.”
There is balance and strength in a quiet and calm mind. There is power in peace. And as I cleanse and clean out my body, I also want to tap into that strength and balance. So I’m going to start meditating. But I’m starting small. Five minutes a day for this week. If that feels good, then next week maybe I’ll increase my time. I always say that I want quiet, so now I’m giving myself the opportunity.
After all, according to Rachel, “Progress comes from constant practice.”