The Joy? of Meditation

I write this with a smirk on my face. Meditation is not always a joy. In fact, only after a decently long meditation is it remotely close to being joyful. Some days, sitting for meditation is the hardest things to do – like running in a trough of clay.

My daily habit has ebbed and flowed. Most days, after I awaken, I sit right there in the bed and meditate. Some days I have to pee first, so I do. Some days, I don’t want to sit there at all, and I do. Some days, I scour my brain for all of the reasons why I should not sit in meditation, but I do .

It first was apparent to me that I was missing out of something important at my first week-long yoga training in 2010. I noticed a distinctive difference between me and some of the participants. Upon some conversations, I learned that the difference was meditation. Those who were calm and seemingly “aware” meditated regularly – outside of the confines of the program. Upon my re-entry, I began my practice. Slowly and short in time at first, slowly building the muscle to the practice. It took months to get to be sitting for more than 10 minutes.

The practice of meditation is being studied in its ability to overcome pain, anxiety, depression and many other health issues. What I find is not how I feel when I am consistent with my meditation practice, but how I feel when I am not. Without my daily practice, I feel “off” and get angered easily, feel a higher sense of anxiety, dread, depression. My ability to focus seems lacking as well. I can’t say that meditation “cures” anything, but overall I feel more satisfied and downright happier when I meditate.

There is a misconception about meditation which might turn people away from the practice, however. Meditation is meant to suit you and your needs. For starters, just aim for a few minutes. Count your breaths, simply aware of the inhales and the exhales. There will be thoughts and there will be resistance. THIS IS NORMAL. The point is to notice what comes up without following it and letting it distract you. Be kind to yourself instead of getting angry for “not being able to meditate.” Anyone can meditate.

It takes a conscious and willing mind to devote a small part of your day to yourself. What you might find with a daily practice of even just 10 minutes, is improved focus, less distractions in your mind, a renewed sense of calm, better relationships with yourself and others, lowered stress among other things.

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