One month of meditation. Does it make a difference?
One month ago today, I decided to commit — really commit this time! — to a daily meditation practice. I’ve been down this road before. Usually I don’t make it more than three or four days before the snooze button wins out over the sounds of silence, but this time something was different. I think it was the Cravings journey I’d been on with my tribe. Although the food thing remained a struggle for me throughout that journey, the principles and practices clearly benefited other parts of my life. Something was seeping into the cracks of my soul and pushing me forward.
So every day, usually at 6 a.m. (although once or twice in the evening instead due to a crazy schedule), I get up, head downstairs, set up my pillows on the floor or on a chair and settle into the silence, breathing deeply a few times to start, rolling my shoulders, stretching my neck and then…stillness. I set my Apple watch to 15 minutes, but I don’t really need a timer at this point. I usually know intuitively just before the little vibration goes off that I’m reaching the end of my session.
Some days I’m in the meditation groove. The stillness seems to envelope me and monkey mind stops it’s chattering. Time flies, and suddenly I’m done. Other days, twinges and itches make me want to readjust my position, thoughts about work or chores or meetings race around my head for at least a minute or so before I even realize what’s happening and acknowledge the thoughts and let them float away. Days like today I can feel the physical stillness like a heavy blanket comforting me even as my mind jumps up and down looking for attention. And I return again and again to breathing and the words that ground me throughout my meditation.
Is it making a difference in my life? Although there is no outward sign at this point to anyone (even me), I would have to say yes, because something is shifting inside. First of all, I just don’t want to miss my quiet prayer/meditation time. I find myself looking forward to it, resisting the urge to sleep in or say I’m too busy to squeeze in 15 minutes. Because, really, I’m never so busy I can’t fit in 15 minutes. If I closed up Facebook, I’d have way more than 15 minutes to work with every day. I can feel something happening not on a level that necessarily changes outward behavior in a dramatic way (at least not yet), but rather changes internal awareness. I still race around from meeting to meeting and deadline to deadline, sometimes so mindlessly I forget to eat my lunch or leave my full coffee cup in the microwave and wonder where it went, but through it all I’m becoming more of a silent observer, watching my own frenetic pace, pulling back when I can or smiling at the same habitual patterns that can tie me up in knots almost daily. Now there is less frustration and more compassion for myself, and I find myself thinking 15 minutes is not long enough. But I’m not worrying about adding on more just yet, about making “progress” or ratcheting things up, which, in itself, is a benchmark for me.
The interesting thing is that the meditation has now led me back to the food-faith journey and, finally, I am on track and making improvements where I was stuck for so many months. So I’ve come full circle. Yes, it’s making a difference, one breath at a time.