As I said yesterday, I’ve been listening to Practicing Mindfulness: An Introduction to Meditation. In addition to figuring out the best time of day to meditate and the duration of my planned meditation sessions, the instructor also talks about where to meditate. I go back and forth between two houses and I want to be prepared at both houses. As I thought about my options, I decided that the closet is the best place in both houses. Interestingly, the closet at one of them is already known as the Buddha Room. It’s the back closet in a warren of closets off the master bedroom in our very weird primary residence. Yesterday, at the other house, I slid the bathroom rug into the closet (it’s a cold tile floor) and placed a couch cushion on the rug (in a future blog post I’ll talk about yoga cushions and my thrill at having a reason to shop). Today, in the Buddha Room, which is carpeted, I simply pulled a chair cushion onto the floor.
A few years ago I downloaded a meditation timer app. Yesterday morning, I logged into the app for the first time in a long time, figured out how to use it again, and set my five-minute timer. It’s kind of fun because the app lets you know how many other people in the world are meditating right then using their app. There are a lot! Many of those people were also meditating for short periods of time, so I felt in good company.
I lit a candle because I can’t stand being in complete darkness, sat down on my cushion, and tapped the start button on my app. (I was going to say, “hit the start button,” but that sounds too violent when describing meditation.) Five minutes! I was really worried about how I would be able to sit still for five whole minutes. I worked on keeping track of my breath – in and out, in and out, but I have to admit my mind wandered – a lot! I found myself thinking of my mind as a team of horses pulling a cart. They’d run wild and I’d have to reign them back in. In and out, in and out – there they go again! Reign them back in! In and out, in and out.
When the horses ran loose, most often they ran towards writing this blog in my brain. I had ideas about what I wanted to write. What if I forgot them when the five minutes was up? At one point, the horses ran towards writing this blog and then I laughed at myself as I thought about writing about thinking about what I would write (does that even make sense?).
Yesterday, I was completely surprised by how quickly five minutes went by. I thought perhaps one minute had gone by when the five-minute timer went off. I even checked to make sure it was set correctly. Today I wasn’t as surprised, but I realize already that I can probably extend the time, but not yet. I’m taking baby steps with the hope of cementing this practice in my daily routine, so five minutes is fine for now.
With two meditation sessions behind me, I feel the pinball machine slowing down, at least for those five minutes. The ball is still in play, but I’m not so inclined to go for the all-out tilt.