Can I be honest with you guys? Meditation works, but it also sucks. Hold on. Hold on. Let me eh-splain, Lucy.
Meditation sucks because it’s hard. Incredibly hard at first. So, while it’s a fun hip word to toss around, to actually do it and do it consistently is really hard. And maybe it’s just me. I’m weak sauce like that. I’m pretty sure I have self-diagnosed ADD. The idea of sitting still and embracing all the wonderful and not so wonderful aspects of myself is not quite at the top of my list. Yeah, hard pass. I’d rather binge something on Netflix or watch Brad make his partner coffee on Instagram or go on a useless rant on Twitter. I’ll use every excuse under the sun to delay or avoid mediation. But here’s the thing friends…meditation works! When done consistently, like any other thing, we see results.
Don’t believe me? Check my current status: I’m currently sitting in a hospital, very pregnant with twins just shy of turning 28 weeks, in the middle of a global pandemic with an incredibly high probability our babies will arrive wa-a-ay earlier than anticipated. And while fear creeps in from time to time, overall I generally feel cool as a cucumber. The only thing I changed from my life pre-pandemic was upping my meditation. (Shoutout to the twins for getting my ass in gear and in a consistent rhythm.)
Many of us love and enjoy running, and need it for our mental sanity... Meditation is something like that.
Fun fact, I started meditating during my fabulously broke and reckless 20s. Yeah, I thought I was tough shit—and to some degree I was—but I was also so stupid, lost and naïve. I had dropped out of college. (Okay, okay, I failed myself out of college.) Then I ran off to D.C. (anything to avoid moving back home). So, let’s add incredibly stubborn to my already glowing resume. Then one day I came across Buddhism and never looked back.
Don’t worry, this isn’t a story about religion or politics. It’s about trying new tools until we find something that works. Something that shows actual proof and feels tangible in our lives...just like running.
Many of us love and enjoy running, and need it for our mental sanity. When we miss a run or get injured, we feel lost, off, cranky, irritable, etc. Right? Meditation is something like that. When we do it sparingly, our life conditions become low and we find ourselves overreacting to all of life’s stressors. But, much like running, when we do it consistently, we get better.
Some of you may already mediate and can relate. And some of you may even have a strong and consistent meditation practice (#goals). But for the rest of us—especially those who’ve never meditated—where do we even start?
That’s the easy part. You can start here (see How to Meditate by Jeff Warren), here or here. Lucky for us, we live in a time of amazing technology with quick access to just about anything. So, if these three options are not for you, dig a little deeper. Or ask other friends who already meditates for guidance. Just like we ask our friends for recommendations on everything from clothes and food or training coaches, this is similar. And, like anything new, give it time. Think of it like trying a new pair of running shoes, or a new training program.
I know so many of us are suffering and living with new levels of anxiety, fear, and even grief. This pandemic is no joke, with a million unknowns still ahead. But here’s what we do know:
- We clearly value our lives and the lives of others around us, which is why we’re social distancing, washing our hands very well, etc.
- We all want to get back to our lives as soon as possible.
- Technology is great, but there’s no substitute for those in-person connections.
In the meantime, while we’re flattening the curve, we can also reduce our personal and collective pain.
So, give meditation a shot. A real shot, like, a week or more. You set the time and pace, because here’s the thing that people forget to share about mediation: Feelings come up. And while some are calming and amazing, some are tough and cathartic. That, and your patience and attention span will be tested. But I encourage you all to embrace it as it comes. And by all means, starting, stopping, and restarting is totally allowed.
In closing, I want to leave you all with a little chat between Oprah and her spiritual mentor Reverend Wintley Phipps. I found their conversation soothing and inspiring. Together they remind us that while it’s easy to have faith in the good times, we have the capacity to also have faith and overcome in the midst of life’s challenges. Also, faith is not something we need to have to feel like we can rise to life’s challenges. Faith also evolves through action and not giving up.
Wishing you all a little moment of Zen and peace in a truly unprecedented time.