Monday, October 22, 2012

Adventures in Meditating

 If I have a superpower, it’s the ability to make anything more complicated that it needs to be. (Which, if you have a choice, is not one of the better superpowers.) Take meditating. It sounds simple enough, right? Basically, you sit. You can try to clear your mind, or focus on your breathing, or visualize something, but the essence is simply to stay in one place and … well, be. 

Yeah. Easier said than done. My friend Daisy and I have both had an ongoing interest in meditation, though actually doing it is another matter. Recently we got together at a café and had the brilliant idea to give it a shot, right there in the park across the street. We found ourselves a sunlit bench and settled in.

Simple, right? Of course not! First, we decided we needed an app for our meditation session. We both hauled out our iPhones and began scrolling through the app store looking for free meditation apps. Something with a timer, or maybe a bell to start us off. We spent the next fifteen minutes searching instead of meditating, which of course struck us as hilarious.

So, because of the times we’re living in, I had to Tweet about that. And post about it on Facebook. Because really, has anything actually happened unless you’ve talked about it on social media? Maybe, but why risk it?

While I Tweeted and FB’ed, Daisy selected and downloaded an app. But then she started reading the small print. The app wanted us to set “meditation goals” by which we could judge our progress. Daily sessions, length of sessions, it all had to be logged in before we could start our meditation. As Daisy put it, “I don’t need an app to make me feel guilty. I can do that by myself.” Besides, isn’t the whole point of meditation to just “be,” not to be goal-oriented?  

But what do we know? Since we were running out of time, we ditched the app, set the timer, and soaked in the sunshine in silence for the next fifteen minutes. You might say that was meditation, and hopefully it was close.

Except I spent much of that time wondering if I could turn the whole experience into a blog post.

Clearly, I need to work on this being/meditating/simplifying concept a little more.  

Have you ever tried meditating? Any recommendations you can share?


  1. My meditation has been mostly for pain relief - so your mileage may vary.

    The one that has been most effective for me is where you imagine the site of the pain as a sun; and then it gradually sets, hence relieving the pain. The pain goes down as the sun sets.

    I also like visualization, where I visualize the pain as a creature sitting on my back. When I dislodge the creature, the pain is reduced.

    It sounds weird, but it works.

    The one where you relax starting at your toes and working upwards to your scalp is pretty good too.

    Sorry, no help with apps. My phone is a $20 buck special from Target with T Mobile to go. I spend maybe $20/year buying minutes. Just not a phone girl.

  2. These meditations and visualizations sound amazing. I don't think it sounds weird at all -- I believe the mind can do incredible things. Thanks for sharing those, I'm going to try them the next time my back is bothering me.