I really want to be a meditator. I know this is something that I really need in my life. Manic Mannion, thats what they call me. Wherever the opposite is of calm, that’s where I live. I’ve read tonnes of books on mindfulness meditation, have studied the scientific benefits of it with professors, have bought tons of ‘life-changing’ apps to do it, have alarms going on my phone reminding me to do it but although I’ve tried many times, I just can’t seem to stick with it. There’s some block.
Then Dave called. “Alright Cli, wanna do a 30 day meditation with a group of us?”. I met Dave only once before in a pub after some brief twitter chats. “Definitely“, I heard myself anxiously reply before wondering how I earth I would fit this into my already frenzied life.
This was it though. I truly believe people come into other peoples lives for a reason. And, Dave was here to turn me into a meditator.
So I jumped with two feet straight in, confident that I was going to really stick with it this time. I knew exactly what I needed, another meditation app. I’d already used up my free trials from previous attempts so I was forced into buying a package: 3-months, 6-months, 9-months. I bought the 12-month package. It made economical sense for a serious meditator.
Loving Kindness meditation
But this wasn’t enough. I couldn’t just follow a meditation app. I knew Dave was doing that. Plus, I’d already exaggerated my meditation experience to Dave so he’d expect more from me. I racked my brains. Then it occured to me, loving kindness meditation. This consistently showed in all scientific studies as improving happiness in pretty much everyone who did it. Perhaps I didn’t need another app, I googled it and found some videos on youtube. I picked one that wasn’t too long. Retrospectively, me choosing by the length of the video was probably my first clue that this wasn’t going to work too well.
The loving-kindness meditation was fantastic. You pick people in your life you are close to and then people you don’t know very well (say someone you might work with but never speak too) and repeat a simple mantra while focusing on them, ‘may you be safe, may you be happy, may you be healthy, may you be free ‘. The effect was very healing. I think it’s because for probably the first time all day, I was focusing on someone else. I wasn’t doing this meditation to make me calm, I was sending my energy to someone else for their happiness.
Then my two boozey mates arrived in town. You know those people where your heart lights up when you meet them but you can almost see the vitamins leaving your body? Yeah them. And that threw everything off. 1, 2, 3, 4…. these were the days I was now counting me not meditating. I count hear Dave’s voice tinkering in the depths of my mind “..and, how many days did YOU do?”
I scrambled. I abandoned the loving kindness meditation. It wasn’t giving big enough results. I needed to supercharge my meditation fast. There needed to be profound results for me to talk about. Back to the app, I pushed it to full throttle and set the time at 45mins. That should get me back on track.
It really worked. I was sleeping a lot better until the voice woke me up at the end of the 45 mins! How rude! Then it became every second day, and everyday after that… and you know the rest of the story. Then it stopped. I’m back to the stressed face and anxious thoughts. Not even having to talk about it on a podcast could will me into doing it.
Dave wasn’t put in my life to turn me into a meditator that’s for sure.