How hard can it be? Just sitting there, with your own thoughts and nothing else… I mean, you don’t have to actually do anything, do you? And I love doing nothing, so it’s easy really.
So why do I keep resisting? Why is “meditate daily” the one job on my to-do list that so often remains un-ticked? I like to think of myself as pretty self-aware; I know what is going on in my own head. Yet I keep refusing to sit down and watch, listen, hear, feel… There is always one more thing to be done, one more call to make, one more piece of clutter to tidy, one more check of Facebook, or Pinterest, or Twitter… and Facebook again, just in case I missed anything last time.
Sit. Stop. One minute, I just need to… No, now.
I have taught meditation in school, informally. I am currently awaiting news of an application for a course to teach mindfulness to teenagers, which will require me to engage in daily practice myself. Meditation is my stock response to friends who are having a hard time sleeping, or being awake and dealing with the raw emotions that wakefulness is bringing them at a rough time in their lives. I can become quite evangelical about it at times, preaching about how simple it is, how effective, how it is just guaranteed to help, I promise. I stave off objections that they don’t have time with the old Zen quote, “You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes every day, unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour”. God, I can be really quite irritating about it I suspect. Yet I am not practising what I preach. I want to; I say that I do it regularly, with a smug, self-satisfied air of calm and inner peace. Yet when I started to keep a note of exactly how often I engage in this allegedly regular ritual, one whole month passed without me sitting once in solitude and silence. Hmmm.
So actually, today’s daily gratitude is not so much for meditation itself, as wonderful a thing as that can be (from what I remember anyway…), but I am grateful for the internal wake-up call, and the reminder that I need to do this. I want to do this, I will feel better if I do this, and I have time to do this. I am grateful for the self-awareness and desire for better that will prompt me to make a promise to myself. I will meditate every day for one month.
And after one month? It will have returned to its rightful place in my daily routine, reinvigorated its status as habit, as normal as my morning cup of tea and breakfast. Actually, now I come to think of it, I’ve been pretty rubbish at eating breakfast too lately….I guess that can be what I think about next time I sit to meditate.