Yesterday morning I woke up early, staggered downstairs, made myself some coffee, sat down at the kitchen counter, noticed the warmth of the sunshine shining on my face through our blind-less and dirty kitchen window, and decided it was time to meditate. I turned off the droning of Radio 4, glugged a little more of my coffee, uncrossed my legs and prepared to look inward. I inhaled...exhaled...inhaled...and thought about how I needed to be out the door by 9:00 to get to that appointment on time....caught myself and tried not to judge...inhaled...exhaled...pushed the hungry cat off the counter....inhaled...exhaled....glanced at the clock, it was time to wake up the girls for school...inhaled, scratched my nose....started scripting a blog in my head about how to meditate when you actually suck at meditating.
So here we are. Meditating is hard. Forcing yourself to meditate when you're not in the place to meditate is harder. I've been trying to scratch the surface of 'inward seeking' for years now and I still struggle... a lot. It's a discipline and I am not disciplined when it comes to sitting quietly with myself. There are so many things spinning around inside my head and my heart. There are so many responsibilities spiraling around outside. Or it's cold. The sun isn't shining. There is a pile of laundry on my bed, which needs to be folded. The dog needs a walk....
A few weeks ago I participating in Special Yoga's seven day training. It was an incredibly emotional week and I learned a lot, but one of the most important things I learned was how vital it is to be able to look honestly inside of your own heart before you can practice from the heart. With that concept front and centre, we started every day with about half an hour of heart meditation, sitting in silence with our eyes closed and checking in with our hearts. It sounds cheesy, but it was pretty profound. And really difficult.
My first day of attempting to 'drop into my heart' during my training left me feeling pretty frustrated. My back hurt and I couldn't get comfortable. My morning had been frenetic, so my mind flitted from thought to thought. Every time someone coughed, I looked. Every conversation that happened in the thinly insulated kitchen behind me, grabbed my attention. I was tired and felt like a failure. I never got anywhere near my heart and at the end of that first practice, I lay face down on my mat and sobbed into my hands.
That was the low point and if I hadn't been participating in the training, I probably would have gone back to not meditating, but with the guidance of some experienced teachers, I kept going every morning for seven days. I figured out a way to sit comfortably. I wrapped myself in lots of layers. I managed to block out the distractions. I kept my eyes closed. During that week, in the cocoon of a yoga training and surrounded by the energy of yogis, I 'dropped' into my heart and let my heart take over for my mind.
I like to think that in my life outside of zen-like yoga trainings, I'm still practicing from the heart. But, I can feel when I am letting my mind get in the way. And that has been happening a lot lately. So, with this blog as motivation, I'm going to start a daily meditation practice. I'll report back on what works for me and what doesn't and I hope I'll be able to provide some sort of guide to meditation for other busy, anxious, overtired, overthinking people. I'll keep you posted.