Saturday, March 16, 2013

On meditation

A little Fairy of Awesomeness came and sprinkled some Awesome Dust on me this week.  After being a little sick with a tummy bug two weeks ago (which, of course, freaked me out because my whole thing with Baby T started when I got sick), this past week I've been feeling really awesome.  I hit 17 weeks on Tuesday (so yes, today I'm 17.4), my tummy is sticking out quite proudly, I got some new springtime clothes from Old Navy (I was going to try to resist buying anything new until April, but the stuff I had from Baby T was all wintry since I was due in February, and we've had such gorgeous spring weather recently, I just couldn't handle all the blacks and browns.  

I also started meditating religiously, which is really helping me with my freakouts.  I used to think that meditation was about relaxation, and working through all the noise in your head.  I thought the Artists Way Morning Pages were a form of meditation, so by doing them, I was meditating.  And I suppose they might be, and I might have been, but another side of meditation is the ability to concentrate your mind, to ignore the chatter in your brain, turn it off, and just be mindful in the moment.  Last year my friend's mom taught us transcendental meditation, and shared how it rocked her world when she was depressed.  Basically, you sit for 20 minutes, and repeat a mantra (the one she taught me is Maranatha, which means Lord Come).  You might have other thoughts (in fact, you will have other thoughts), and you don't really pay much attention to them.  You just keep coming back to the mantra.

The analogy they made was a parable of a man leading an elephant through a village.  The first time he went through, the elephant destroyed the village with his trunk, just waving it everywhere and taking out huts and anything else in its path.  But the next day, the man gave the elephant a stick to hold in his trunk, and he walked peacefully through the village because he had something to do with his trunk.  The mantra is the stick for your brain.  

When we first started meditating, I didn't really see the point.  It seemed kind of like a waste of 20 minutes (and she actually recommended we do it for 20 minutes in the morning, and the evening).  There were so many other things I could be doing with that time.  Reading.  Watching the Bachelor.  Taking a bath.  What on earth did I think I was going to get out of sitting still with a mantra for 20 minutes.  It seemed boring, and pointless.

But now, seeing where my brain goes with this pregnancy (hey, there's a cramp.  I guess I'm losing it.  Let's go to the hospital.) I see the value of being able to still the commotion and silence all that shit.  A while back ago, at a conference, I picked up a galley copy of this book, The Meditative Path, and have started going through it, and, even more importantly, forcing myself to meditate daily.  I'm not up to 20 minutes yet - I started at 12 minutes, and I'm up to 18 now.  

And... It.  Is. Awesome.  The cats could get in a fight, or the house could fall in, and I wouldn't get up from my meditation.  I tune out everything from the outside world.  I listen to brainwave music (specifically this Deep Alpha meditation CD) and, while it's definitely a struggle to keep on the mantra, I notice it getting easier as I stick to my practice of doing it every day.  

In terms of real-life results, I haven't had a freakout in 10 days, which is a new record.  If you've never tried to meditate before (or even if you have, and you didn't stick with it) I urge you to read this How To from the World Community of Christian Meditation, and give it a shot.  Taking it back up again is the best thing I have done in ages.

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