Meditation homework is hard

Look at my new meditation corner. Isn't it sweet and cozy?

It's just one part of my meditation homework. I'm one class into a six-class series on meditation through the Seattle Insight Meditation Society and the homework is already intense. 1) Sleep eight hours a night (ack.) 2) Meditate 30 minutes a day (double ack). 3) Do one thing mindfully every day, be it brush your teeth, eat breakfast or comb your hair. OK, this one I can do.

OK, I can do them all. What did I expect from a meditation series? One class and I'd be sitting with a calm, clear mind? I kind of wish that was how it worked. But 30 minutes a day is a commitment. I already set an alarm on my phone to remind myself to do it every day. We are supposed to put a little note next to our toothbrush or whatever activity we choose to focus on for this week that says "Be mindful." Then do it and really shut everything else out except for that activity. My teeth are going to be very clean.

Teacher Rodney Smith said it's easy to intellectualize meditating, but you can't absorb its lessons until you actually do it. And Smith, a former monk, is serious about the process in the nicest way possible. But I am excited. He walked us through the proper supported seat, talked us through a 5-minute meditation, then introduced us to walking meditation. It's much harder than it sounds. Meditation is about taking the unconscious to the conscious, and letting the flow of chatter that talks incessantly all day long in our heads become secondary instead of primary. It's about understanding our minds and the fears tucked into the nooks and crannies. He addressed a lot that's been going through my head lately about leaving the past in the past and the future in the future and living in the present. It's a lesson I think about and fail at almost all the time. Smith says we all do, some intentionally and most of us absent-mindedly as we think about everything else in life except for what we are actually doing.

Much of what he said I learned and absorbed during my teacher training. But listening to him talk tonight reminded me how far away I have drifted from my training, just six months later. Sitting those 30 minutes a day might be the toughest thing I do every day, but being a nerdy yogi, I am into having homework. I actually do homework. Meditation nerding out to commence now.


K said...

This sounds fascinating. Looking forward to your insights over the weeks! My fear with meditation is that, if I let go of all my other thoughts, what happens if I don't remember to worry about them them later? LOL

N said...

K, you crack me up. I think a lot of people worry about that very thing. But think about all you can DO with your life if your mind is calm and clear! There will be so much less stress. :)

Maria said...

You can also set am alarm to remind you to go to bed. I love that you are embracing your yogic nerd.

Debbie Hampton said...

Love your meditation nook. I have a corner too, and it is so cozy for me, but bright and sunny.

I meditate everyday and find it so centering and calming. Keeps me balanced and healthy. My challenge is to be mindful during the other little things. Gonna try one activity a day like you brushing your teeth.

N said...

Hi Debbie, thanks for reading. I agree, meditating is so grounding, but sometimes it is still so hard to make the space/time for it. But I'm glad to know there are people out there who are committed. And I know it's important, so I press on!

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