So I have started practicing a bit of meditation.
The word “practicing” doesn’t make a great deal of sense to me because what you are essentially doing is nothing but that is what people seem to call it.
The meditations I have been experimenting with are transcendental meditation, different types of breathing exercises and body scans. I have also been indulging in some relaxation exercises including both progressive and passive muscle relaxation.
At first, I must be honest that I found it all a little uncomfortable. I became highly in tune with all the “goings on” inside my mind and body which felt somewhat unpleasant. Aftwerwards, I felt a bit out of it and light-headed. Also, I had a little bit of internal resistance coming up – I work in an office sitting at a desk all day and already feel that I am too introspective so the thought of sitting down, “doing nothing” and focusing inwards for a further twenty minutes every evening seemed counter-intuitive.
That being said, I was fully armed with the plethora of wisdom out there which states that meditation “is good” and has “wonderful benefits” so I persisted. And my persistence seems to be paying off.
After about 1 week, I started to feel more relaxed, was sleeping better with fewer interruptions and generally felt a bit more in tune with my emotions and what causes me stress – from the blank canvass of calm that comes with meditation, I am able to notice much more easily when something negatively affects that peaceful state.
I am not sure if that is a good thing yet as the net effect is that I seem to be more sensitive to stress. Time will tell. Hopefully, the calm affect I achieve during meditation will gradually find its way into my normal life.
For the Transcendental Meditation, I was lucky enough to have attended a course on it with a qualified TM practitioner in my teen years so I knew how to do it even though I hadn’t practiced for over 15 years. Basically, you sit in a quiet, calm place and repeat a mantra in your head. If your thoughts wonder you just gently bring them back to the mantra and in effect – the present moment.
For the relaxation exercises, there is a wide variety of resources out there on YouTube or various apps which include guided meditation where someone with a very relaxing voice gradually hypnotises you into a deep state of blissful relaxation. And it works! I haven’t felt as relaxed as I have during these sessions for years. Probably not even in my sleep. Sometimes I almost feel like my couch becomes a cloud which I am floating on.
On the TM, I haven’t been fully sold on the wide array of benefits that TM practitioners claim the practice can give you (I think I read some even claim it can extend your life expectancy) but I do think it is a solid relaxation exercise and a very welcome break from your usual day-to-day thoughts. Whilst practicing, I have noticed a few times a really deep sense of calm and lightness wash all over me. It really is a wonderful feeling when that happens but it doesn’t seem to happen if I will it to happen, it just comes naturally sometimes when I am not thinking about it and least expect it. By the way, I have also noticed that my stomach makes weird noises and my muscles twitch a lot. Don’t ask me why but someone I spoke to about it told me that is “stress and negative energy leaving your body”. I am pretty sceptical on that but will keep an open mind.
So yes, despite my initial resistance it seems to be doing me good so I am going to keep up with it and see if I notice any further benefits over the next few months.