On meditating anyway
I used to think meditating was boring. Mostly, I still do. But a few things have softened me up over time:
- Reading books by Tara Brach and Pema Chödrön, two meditation teachers. Their voices are so gentle. I especially love Tara Brach’s Radical Acceptance; I’ve read it twice and been brought back to earth both times.
- Listening to Tara Brach’s podcast. She alternates between posting talks and guided meditations. Sometimes I listen to her talks while I’m doing laundry, sometimes while walking through the park. They always leave me feeling like I’ve been to a church I believe in.
- Using Headspace and Insight Timer on my phone. When my interest in meditation briefly surges, I’ll often resubscribe to Headspace. And then a few months later, there’s a sad moment when I see the charge come through and realize I haven’t used it in ages. What’s nice about Insight Timer is that it’s free and full of shorter meditations. Tara Brach’s guided meditations are perfect for when I have twenty minutes to spare. But if five or ten minutes feels like all I can manage, Insight Timer does the trick.
When I meditate at all, I do it first thing in the morning while still snuggled up in bed. The thing that helps there is bringing my AirPods up to my nightstand before I go to sleep, so that I can listen to a guided meditation as soon as I wake up without waking Erik.
I listen while still snuggled in bed instead of sitting up straight, and my mind does all sorts of acrobatics along the way. Maybe it’s not that meditation is boring—it’s that it’s no fun to be bad at something. But I’ve taken to heart that being good at meditating isn’t the point. The point is to try to stay still and notice, without judgment, how my mind moves.