I’m writing this all snuggled up with a horrible cold, so if I sound a bit bleh it’s because I’m feeling a bit bleh. I’ve got lemsips, strepsils, and paracetamol on one side of the laptop and a mountain of tissues on the other. Thick woolly socks pulled high and my hoodie sleeves covering up most my hands. The only way I could get more covered is if I put a hat and gloves on. But I have to draw the line somewhere, it is still August after all.
This probably isn’t the best way to be writing about meditation but I think in some ways it can be, if you’re up for getting all deep and personal on a Wednesday morning just as you reach those mid-week blues. Mindfulness and meditation is all about accepting the here and now (my snotty nose and cold toes) and not planning ahead to when things are better but making the most of the now. Because I know being productive and writing this will make me feel good in the long run, even if I want to curl up in a little ball and feel sorry for myself.
Back in May I decided that I wanted to give meditation a try, and in typical me fashion I jumped straight in without much research or anything. Oh, how wrong I was.
I went straight to YouTube, searched ‘guided meditation’ and figured I was good to go. When I’d wake up I’d sit up cross legged, whack one of these videos on, and listen with my eyes closed. Admittedly, there’s nothing wrong with doing that. But I soon realised I was doing it for the wrong reasons (thinking it would completely alter my life) and didn’t really know where I was headed with any of it.
That’s when I went on a hunt for something to help me, something to actually guide me through every aspect of meditation and the concept of mindfulness rather than the odd ten minutes here and there. I’m sure I’ve spoke about this book a few time on the blog, but Whereever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn was a game-changer for me.
I searched for a while for the right book, with several saved to my bookmarks for about the week before I decided to go for it. I bought this particular book because it was perfect for the beginner, the person who had merely an interest in learning more. It doesn’t expect you to practice already, or ask you to become part of a different culture. It simply asks that you take a step back from your day to day life to allow for some time to reflect.
There’s one chapter that has really stood out to me, which I think is going to stick with me for a long time. It talks about eating breakfast. Something we all enjoy, right? But how often do you sit and actually eat breakfast? Not check the news, or get ready whilst eating, or make plans, or Instagram what you’re eating. Actually sit and taste it, feel the textures, allow it to take over all your senses. This really struck a chord with me because I think so many of us are guilty for this that more often than not we miss breakfast because we’re too busy focusing on other things.
The book has shown me that mindfulness and meditation aren’t some crazy out there things that you need to change your life to consider practicing. But if you do want to try it you need to be serious and dedicate yourself to it because otherwise it’ll be easy to stop.
Not bother getting up that little bit earlier in favour of bed and sleep.
The whole mindset behind it though is fascinating. And definitely something I want to have as part of my life. A little bit of time where I can reflect on the present, forget about any goals or plans I have, and be content with the here and now.
The book says again and again that if you can’t be here in the present and be truly aware of the now, then how can you ever get there? You can never reach your ultimate goal if you can’t focus on here and now.
Course I have goals I want to achieve in life, and I doubt mindfulness will stop that, but that’s not the point. The point is for me to stop trying to achieve something so far in the future when I can be happy with now.
I could keep rambling about this but my bed is calling me.
The future can wait. It’s time for me to enjoy what I have rather than what I want.
Even if that means ‘enjoying’ this cold. Maybe I’ll wish away that part of the present.