The other day I stumbled across a relatively new book on meditation. With a title like Bliss More: How to Succeed in Meditation Without Really Trying, I figured I had to give it a try.
I mean, why wouldn’t you try it? With emotional well-being benefits* like:
- Gaining a new perspective on stressful situations
- Building skills to manage your stress
- Increasing self-awareness
- Focusing on the present
- Reducing negative emotions
- Increasing imagination and creativity
- Increasing patience and tolerance
And then add to that meditation’s ability to help manage:
- Chronic pain
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Sleep problems
- Tension headaches
Oh, and it’s free. Why wouldn’t you want to meditate?
I wanted to—desperately wanted to—but I struggled with it. I’ve tried Zen meditation, mindfulness meditation, and some other flavors, but I never came out of it with a happy, blissful surfer-like experience. More often I was tired, my back ached from sitting up straight, and I spent my time so focused on not thinking** that all I could do was chastise myself for thinking, which was more thinking with an added dollop of a feeling of failure.
The practice advocated in this book turns all of that on its head.
What if you were comfortable when you meditated? What if you were encouraged to look at a clock whenever you started wondering about the time? What if you accepted your thoughts as completely natural***, and not Dastardly Enemies to avoid or destroy? What if meditating were actually easy?
Like I said. Radical ideas.
So here’s the meditation technique:
- Sit comfortably (with back support)****
- Use an easy-to-see timing device (not an alarm)
- Calculate your finish time (10-20 minutes)
- Close your eyes
- Passively think the sound “ahhhhh-hummmm”
- Let yourself simultaneously get lost in your thoughts
- When you remember that you’re meditating, passively begin thinking “ah-hum” again
- Peek freely and often at the time
- Once you’re done, wait a minute or two before opening your eyes
- Come out slowly
Thre prescription is to ideally, meditate 2x a day (upon awakening, and in afternoon/early evening), and no more than that.
I’ve tried it a couple times so far, and so far it feels odd to have permission to let my mind ramble with no curbing it. To sit back and relax, and not keep adjusting my posture and thinking about the position of my head or the ache in my knees.
Just the idea of not trying is a revelation. No effort.
Permission granted to just sit.
*Source: Mayo Clinic
**Yeah, try to have no thoughts. And no get caught up in, “Darn thoughts! Why won’t you go away? I’m meditating here!”
***Even the ones you are embarrassed to think.
****How would you sit if you were watching TV? Yeah, do that.