I meditated for an hour today. Before that, the longest I had ever meditated in one sitting was 20 minutes. The vast majority of the time, I do it for 10.
I have not experienced first-hand very many noticeable benefits from meditation, but I have heard enough about them from people I trust and admire to revisit the practice time and time again over the last few years. Still, it has yet to really stick.
When I think of meditation, I don’t think of the guiding voices in the apps. I think of sitting still with eyes closed, paying attention to the thoughts of my mind and the sensations of my senses. In other words, I try to become the “witness”, as it is called in The Untethered Soul, a book by Michael Singer which is the best and one of the only ones I have read as a recommendation from my mother (she reads a lot more than I do).
Today, as I sat cross-legged with my eyes closed for an hour on the dock by the pond, I had a hard time with the practice. To be clear, for anyone who has not ever tried it, sitting still with your eyes closed for any period of time is hard. As usual, I noticed little benefit other than a quickly fleeting feeling of bliss in the brief moments after the harp of my timer sounded and I slowly opened my eyes. Admittedly, that part is nice, but again, it is quickly fleeting. My right foot went numb at a point that must have been less than halfway into the hour and so I was constantly tweaking my position to try to get the feeling back in the foot. That reminded me of a form of hazing which my fraternity brothers and I went through during pledging. So there I was trying to meditate, thinking about how I basically hazing myself. As far as my other thoughts were concerned, my mind wandered all over the place over the course of 60 minutes. While it did seem to slow down a bit, it continuously came back to wondering how much time was left on my phone timer sitting beside me on the dock.
If I had to judge this meditation, I might give it a five out of ten, but I suppose the point is not to judge it but to simply follow the advice of one of my favorite slogans of any company, “just do it.”
As with most things, I believe the practice must get better with practice. That is what I have heard at least. If there is any time to practice the practice, this seems as good a time as any to do so. I hope to write again one day soon with some newfound success in the ancient tradition of meditation. Until then, I figured it might be helpful to share something I have tried that has not necessarily worked, if for no other reason, to make it more believable when I write about the things that have.