The Wrong Way I Meditate, Week Six in the New Abnormal
I felt so fortunate that I had a meditation practice prior to the pandemic. I chose to double up my meditations to give myself devoted time each morning before I started my day. And, when needed again at night, or anytime I had to find my way back to myself.
There are so many meditation apps. I like Andy from Headspace and the Chopra App. Sometimes I do a Tara Brach meditation, or I’ll listen to Sharon Salzberg. When needed I’ll do my own thing. I map my breath, I do a body scan, or Iisten to my ongoing thoughts noticing if there are any changes in my mood or physical sensations from one floating thought to another. I’ve heard others who really like to meditate to Loch Kelly and the Calm app. Though there are a lot of options out there, once I found two that met my needs, I’ve stuck with them.
It's taken years to bring the sensation of meditation into other parts of my waking life. At the beginning of my meditation practice (that sounds so self-aggrandizing to me) I attempted sitting up straight, adjusting my posture again and again to make sure my spine was aligned. It was extremely uncomfortable. If I was in yoga class meditating at the beginning of a session, my leg muscles would cramp. I focused more on the discomfort than on my breathing.
For the past twelve years, since I turned 50, I started to meditate laying down. To some meditation devotees, that’s blasphemous. For me it was a game changer. Often when following a guided meditation the directive is usually to sit straight. No thank you. At 50 I started making changes that worked for me. One of the first was to lay flat while meditating. I can meditate longer. I can relax in a way that feels illusive while sitting, especially if I’m crossed legged.
Now I meditate the way that works best for me. It’s true for other areas of my life. I enjoy food that I find pleasurable, rather than forcing myself to drink wheatgrass as I had in the late 80s. I enjoy a walk daily, usually alone, as a moving meditation. Or I listen to audiobooks, making it easier to get though books these days. For the first half of my life I tried to follow the rules of life. I believed if I could just get it right I’d be happy. In this second half I am making the ever changing rules that support me. I don’t know if I’m happier, but I am certainly more satisfied.
Enduring these past two years has tested our every nerve. We can all be gentle with ourselves by designing our routines to match our needs. I will continue to meditate on my back, even if others see that as wrong. Perhaps having grace for ourselves is more important in the long run than “good” form.
- Try meditating in a comfortable position. If you’re new to it, start with 30 seconds to 3 minutes. If you like it, try it again. If it’s not for you, either try another modality or let it go.
- When you’re feeling over stressed, imagine you’re softening your edges. What does that look like? How does it feel? It may assist in easing the emotional strain.
- Who makes you laugh? Watch a video, stream a special, or call that funny friend. A laughing brake is a terrific relief.