Most of you know I have really been about meditation of late. I’ve been much more consistent than I have ever been; for a few months now I’ve been meditating more days than not. If you’ve read my writing about it before, you might remember I had an amazing experience many years ago that resulted in me having too much expectation and then throwing in the towel on sitting meditation. The experience was beautiful, and from that point on I was frustrated and disappointed that it didn’t happen again. In fact my thoughts were obsessive about it, and I moved to a different type of meditation: mindful meditation that can be done while moving.
Then in May a friend suggested a group for Metta meditation and I joined. I loved it, and was back to sitting meditation (I still use mindfulness meditation at other times, and still enjoy it very much as well). For a good while my sitting meditation used a focal point: the Metta structure initially, then parts of it, and then most recently just focusing on love. For 10 minutes a day I’ve been sitting just concentrating on feeling love for all. Sometimes I picture loved ones; sometimes I just keep repeating it. Of course my mind wanders a great deal, and as with any focal point, I guide it back to love.
Recently I had great difficulty getting focused. I have been stressed about a personal issue which has affected my quality and length of sleep, and obviously if I am mentioning it here, my ability to focus in meditation. That hasn’t stopped me from trying. Some days I wander in my mind nearly the whole 10 minutes. If I’ve been able to focus on love for two minutes its been an accomplishment (it is very important to me my reader understand that you don’t have to meditate perfectly, that just the act of sitting and trying is success). So this recent day, (actually this morning, but by the time this gets up it won’t be this morning anymore) I gave up on focusing on love; I couldn’t seem to do it for even a consistent 15 seconds. So I returned to a mindfulness technique, where my mind is a screen and I just observe; I separate “me” from my thoughts. I often recommend this technique to my clients who have anxiety or depression. Again, my mind would follow the thoughts, and I’d lose the observer perspective. But when this is noticed, I ease back to the observer. While in the observer mode my ego would play a trick on me and pat me on the back for how well I was doing. I’d recognize this as having lost the observer role, and try to move further back in my mind, further the distance from creating thought or traveling with it. As I did I began to experience a greater and greater feeling of peace, connectedness, and accomplishment.
Then I had a bit of that past experience again. This time I felt like I was floating a bit. I knew I wasn’t, but I no longer felt weighed down by my body. It was “floating while knowing you aren’t” moving sensation. It was really cool. I tried to keep my observer mind, but wondered if this is why people always imagine a floating person when meditation is discussed. I am always sure to tell those I talk to about meditation that it isn’t that mystical, and you shouldn’t expect to float around the room. But occasionally you do experience something transcendent. Or maybe it’s just an inner ear infection. Of course there must be a scientific and logical explanation for it.
The point is that there are many varied techniques and experiences to meditation, and if all you experience is a little calm it is still a big success. With continued practice you will likely experience more peace, some connectedness to the universe, and a calmer demeanor.
For some of my other writing on meditation click the links below.
A Meditative Experience
May, Thoughts for….
This includes some of my experience with Metta Meditation and links to other writing.