As a Christmas gift, James organised an intensive meditation course for us both. As a young adult, I thought that meditation and yoga were silly and pretentious things, but since I’ve been a grownup, I’ve been interested in meditation, but haven’t had the right opportunity to try it. So, this was a gift (super nice), and we booked in for this 4-day course (1.5 hours per day), and it was pricy, but you get free monthly drop-in classes after you’ve finished it. That seemed like a good setup to me, because I’m not great at spending money on myself (e.g. yoga, health services, health food and other health products, nice clothes, nice things) and I feel a bit guilty every time I do.
The course was simple, but good. The teacher was gentle, kind and helpful. There were some references to pseudoscience, but I filtered that out. Meditating, so far, has felt beneficial to me, so I’ll go with the flow, and give it a good try. Our practice involves two periods of meditation in a day; one before breakfast and one before dinner, both for 20 minutes. I have found it calming, and that it makes me feel good; it puts me in a better frame of mind for the rest of the day or evening. I also feel more appreciative and in-the-moment.
My personal Most Favourite Feeling is one that I call Zen, which refers to those very rare times when I feel loving, in-the-moment, magnanimous, detached from petty everyday concerns, and experiencing some kind of cosmic consciousness or state-of-oneness. I’ve only been practicing meditation for a short while, but I have had flickers of that feeling. This intrigues and encourages me to practice.
As for disadvantages: There are two side effects so far that I’m not sure about. Firstly, not feeling right. I’ve felt less switched-on since we started the course; sometimes I feel downright dopey. I’m not as fired-up as I was previously, I’m not paying serious attention to my schedule, and I’m forgetting things. I’m feeling more emotional, less resilient and sometimes even unhappy with myself. I’m getting annoyed by things that usually wouldn’t annoy me. (All the opposite of what meditation is known for, right?) This might be from external stresses, a lack of sleep, or from adjusting to the meditation practice, so I’ll wait a couple of months before making a judgment.
Secondly, how these feelings affect my work. I’ve been sensing that the contentedness/inwardness/quietness of meditating are in conflict with the “sharing mode” that I’ve come to enjoy and want to nurture. In the first few days of the course, I felt very private and introverted, but I opened my laptop anyway to see if I could do 1,000 words. Describing the meditation course and surrounding thoughts has been easy enough, but on other days (since the course) I’ve been struggling more than usual. Again, I’ll wait a while before judging this. I’ve been thinking that maybe, if I follow morning meditation with morning pages, I can go from private mode to sharing mode, and it won’t be a problem. Not sure. I’ll see what happens.
To be continued…