[To listen to an audio version of this blog, please click here: http://bit.ly/2jOAFKl]
I write this with a sense of failure.
It is now a month since I started this series and, yes, there is a reason why I left this topic to last. I am lousy at meditation.
Oh, I had such good intentions. I always do. A month, I thought; a month was surely enough to get into good habits.
I sought advice from anyone I could think of who was good at this. I downloaded apps and guided meditations. I subscribed to a couple of daily "Thoughts". But nope, after a month I think I have done exactly two meditations and read maybe four of the thoughts.
So, this morning, I made myself do another meditation. This one from Head Space, which comes highly recommended from a fellow Moodscope user.
Honesty time? Yup – I felt really good after doing it. I felt light and floaty – as if I'd had an hour's whole-body massage in a darkened room with soft panpipe music and jasmine scented air.
But doing it was sheer torture.
So, I identified a few things.
1. I cannot bear to do "nothing". I can't even watch TV without doing the ironing at the same time.
2. I'm really rebellious. When the guide asks me to breathe in a certain way, my reaction is to do exactly the opposite.
3. My inner child feels as if she's being punished; being asked to sit quietly on her hands for those minutes, when she really wants to play.
On the other hand, I do other things which are very nearly meditation.
I have written many times about swimming. There is something about the rhythmical movement of one's limbs through the water, the discipline of breathing, that is conducive to letting one's thoughts wander where they will. I usually use my swimming time to play with ideas for writing and in intercessory prayer – which is different from meditative prayer. Guess what? I'm not much good at meditative prayer either.
Another thing I do is make greetings cards. Apparently, studies have shown that the brainwaves of someone who is deeply involved in a craft process are identical to the brainwaves of someone meditating. So – when I'm cutting paper to millimetre accuracy, when I'm placing that stamp image with pinpoint precision, when I'm gluing embellishments exactly where they need to be: that's as good as meditation. Isn't it?
Well, maybe. I think both are good for mental health. But both are meditation lite. They're not a substitute for the real thing. I rarely rise from a cardmaking session with the feeling of having spent an afternoon in a spa, with that physical feeling which is at once a feeling of heaviness and lightness – a feeling of being effortlessly stretched like Alice after she drank of that bottle so invitingly labelled "Drink Me!"
It's a good feeling. A feeling of being calm, loose, relaxed, centred, resilient. A feeling I'd like to feel again.
Almost worth meditating for.
A Moodscope member.