Some observations regarding my meditation practice.
Everybody practice meditation for different reasons, I have to quote Haemin Sunim again : I don’t have big ambition, I simply want to be able to enjoy my breaths.
Throughout this whole process of trying to better myself, it is very important for me to observe myself empathetically, free from any judgement.
It is no surprise that google is monitoring my every behavior, as this video of Nathaniel Drew pops up on my youtube feed, and it got me thinking, maybe I should set aside a time for my practice. Prior to this, I already meditate 10-15 mins daily, I do this rather aimlessly, I’d look at my clock before I start, and again after I finished. While setting a time goal may seem rigid to most, I think it will help me cement the habit. 30 minutes seem reasonable, so on Monday, I began.
5.30am, turned on the timer on my phone. 30 minutes countdown, and I began.
Instead of the seiza posture Olivier has taught me previously, I sat instead. I supinated my palms and layer them on my crotch. I have no idea what I was doing, I was simply trying to find a comfortable position.
Again, drifting, drifting,drifting, from thought to thought. Alot of re-routing my attention to my breaths. I’d drift then I’d tell myself to focus on my breath. Inhaled and exhaled slowly. Soon, agitation begin to set in, my legs are feeling numb, I felt like I was slouching (It would be fun to do a timelapse video sometimes, I am sure I wasn’t really sitting quietly) It is at this point that I began to tell myself, “Maybe I didn’t set the timer, this felt like forever ! I am sure I’ve passed the 30 minutes mark.” I tried to persevere, “Just hang on a little longer, I am sure you are getting very very close now.” And in the end I opened my eyes before the timer went off, and I always do so as if I have just emerged from the water.
Kinda funny if you think about it, this defeats the purpose of meditating, it was supposed to help me feel calm but towards the end I lost it. It was like Game of Thrones in my mind (I’ve never watched the series LOL)
Subjectively speaking, I did rather well
Monday : 2 minutes short of 30 minutes
Tuesday : 5 minutes short of 30 minutes
Wednesday : 3 minutes short of 30 minutes
My legs were so numb that each time I come out of it, I’d lay on the floor and close my eyes, and continue to focus on my breathing until I feel “recovered” from it.
Side note : I’ve just listened to this podcast by Sigma Nutrition, and Nick Gant, (he’s the director of the Exercise Neurometabolism Laboratory at the University of Auckland)
When asked what is his one advice to improve our cognitive function, he answered :”Just do one hard thing everyday.” And he briefly mentioned how meditating can be that hard thing that challenges our cognitive function. It really resonates with me. Sure, it gets easier with time but it simply isn’t human nature to sit and think about “nothing”. But I think, it is one thing that men perform exceedingly well, this explains why most monks who meditates are men. I am certain if my husband meditates, he will definitely do better than me.
Haemin Sunim : Author of The Things you can see only when you slow down. Image credit to Penguin Books