Observations from Meditation: A Year in the Trenches

By | August 20, 2019

Day 17

24 minutes – I’m trying to remember that each thought is fleeting and I am not my thoughts. I’m screaming that calmly in my head.

I do the bus exercise from the meditation book*, imagining each of the characters driving the “bus” of my life. I observe them file off the bus onto my shady plain, describe them each in detail, and then watch them go back on the bus. The author wants me to draw them, but that’s not really my thing. Oops, that’s judgment and bad. Oops, another judgment.

Day 30

24 minutes – Sitting on my couch, lying on my couch, sitting on my couch. My head feels heavy on my shoulders when I’m sitting upright. My soul feels like it’s pooled up in the bottom of each body part — in my lower back when I’m sitting, in the back of my head when I’m laying down, in my elbows and fingers. I’m a droopy puddle.

Day 32

24 minutes – Sitting on my couch. My brain feels like it’s more aligned. It’s a bizarre, but hopeful feeling. I’m trying to show curiosity about my emotions and thoughts and body. I like the word curiosity to describe meditation. There is no right or wrong as long as you’re curious and can step back occasionally. Breathe in Boo. Breath out dah. Relax.

I peek with seven minutes left convinced I haven’t started the timer.

Day 60

Meditation today was really good. I know that’s a judgment and I don’t care, dammit. I feel my brain getting healthier. My breathing doesn’t feel as strained. The 24 minutes went by smoothly, just noticing my thoughts.

Day 74

You’re the sky and the clouds are your thoughts. Sometimes the clouds are dark and sometimes the clouds are wispy and fleeting. But everything passes. Nothing is permanent. The only constant is change. Even change could stand still for a bit. You don’t know.

Day 107

The goal is not to empty your mind. If you do manage to do that for an extended period of time, you simply notice that fact curiously and watch it go by. That too shall pass.

Nothing is immortal. Not even god. Humans are always changing their ideas on what god is.

Day 111

I counted today’s meditation, but I should not have. I was tired and I fell asleep almost immediately because I was laying down. The alarm most definitely woke me up. There was no paying attention to my breath or emotions or thoughts. There was only exhaustion.

So I’m counting it because there aren’t that many hours in the day and I still wanted to workout and write and be social. I’m invited to two parties tonight and I have a date beforehand and I don’t want to do any of it. I will, of course, because I’m an obliger.

I think I’d feel better about the day if I had properly meditated.

Day 204

24 minutes. It’s always 24 minutes. I don’t ever plan on giving up on meditation because I understand the benefits on an intellectual level. But meditation is not always that pleasant. I don’t look forward to it.

Occasionally, I’ll go beyond and viscerally understand why meditation is helping. I’m calmer and more stoic. But in the moment? I don’t like doing it. It can feel like a waste of time.

Day 205

I don’t get excited about meditating like I do about working out or reading a book I’m really into. I can get lost in the book and exercise moments pretty easily, but meditation can seem like a chore. The only time I like meditation is at the end. The only way out is through.

Day 222

I like the meditations where I have enough willpower to not peek at the clock a single time. Peeking feels like cheating. Peeking feels like I’m not really meditating, just checking a box that says I meditate.

I know that’s not true and I’m being too harsh on myself. So what else is new?

Day 240

I peeped at the timer with exactly two minutes left. Dammit! I just need patience. Patience, my friend. Meditation is teaching me patience, too. Don’t look at the clock. Don’t check to see how many minutes you have left. Instead, think about your breath. Count ten breaths in and count ten breaths out. When that’s done, do it again. But don’t look at the clock.

Day 279

Sometimes I hit a certain spot when I’m meditating and know that’s exactly where I’m supposed to be. I’m breathing in and I’m breathing out and I’m reveling in the moment and I’m realizing that I’m not the voice in my head. The voice in my head is quiet and I’m still there, listening to the silence and the world outside of myself.

It’s a lovely, startling feeling. It’s peace, it’s comfort, it’s awe.

Unfortunately, it’s also brief and over before I know it. But I know it exists because I’ve stumbled upon it more than once.

Day 297

Meditation was okay today. I worked out beforehand and my knee was feeling a bit temperamental, so I spent most of my energy sending my knee love and healing. I know that’s cheesy and frankly, I don’t care. It’s true and it feels like it works. I know my feelings aren’t facts and that feelings eventually fade and I still don’t care.

Day 330

My nose is stuffed up. It’s harder to pay attention to your breath when it’s coming through your mouth hole versus your nose hole. I don’t know why.

*Why Can’t I Meditate by Nigel Wellings

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13 thoughts on “Observations from Meditation: A Year in the Trenches

  1. VIg

    Wow there are a lot of topics covered in this blog. Could you expand on your thoughts/process on some of them?

    What do you do to turn a healthy activity into a habit? I read that after 3 months things just become routine. But there are many instances where i’ve tried and then taken just a few days off and went back to not doing. Then there are things that I tried once and it didn’t become an issue at all to implement into my daily life.

    What do you do when an activity that started fun turns into work? In most things it seems the level of growth is always choppy and often there are plateau periods before the next noticeable change is achieved. Do you feel the same way? How do you push through, is it pure will power?

    On the topic of not being the voice in your head, only being the observer. I read that book last year sometime and I thought it was good, but I don’t agree. Having messed around and lost the voice for a few days, that voice is very important. It might not be 100% of who you are as a person, but if its not there, i personally believe you would become an entirely different person. Being a thinker, I spend most of my days with that voice, and without it there is no way I could rationalize, problem solve, and plan which would cause me more grief than joy.

    Why always 24 minutes? What happens if you get into a flow state do you go over or does the alarm kick you out. Do you think if you didn’t have an alarm you would always try to stop early? I don’t like the time limit, I generally just go until I feel like its enough and stop, it seems to average out, but i don’t keep track so I don’t really know.

    1. Thriftygal Post author

      Don’t take days off! If it’s a habit, keep doing it. Don’t slack.

      If an activity starts feeling like work, I push through and do it anyway. Everyone has days where they don’t feel like doing something. Successful people do it anyway.

      24 minutes because I read it in a book (Why Can’t I meditate) and the number spoke to me. I would have no idea how long I meditated without the timer and wouldn’t try. I’m bad at knowing how much time has passed.

  2. Elizabeth Rita Cook

    I am really enjoying and appreciating the more frequent posts. Thank you!!

  3. Luke

    Meditation… there’s nothing to get… if you believe there is then thats the mind/ego. Recognise that and drop it. No resistance and no attachment

  4. Financial Nordic

    This post was really simple and nice to read.
    For me, meditation feels just like it does for you: I usually don’t want to do it, but I like the feeling of calmness that it gives me 🙂

    – Financial Nordic

  5. John Haspel

    You are certainly committed to a meditation practice. The difficulties you are having may be a consequence of your method and framework. Here is a link to my website that presents meditation and mindfulness in the context of an awakened human being’s simple and direct teachings: Becoming-Buddha.com


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