Meditation – One Step at a Time

by Jennifer Fugo on February 6, 2012

I often hear from my yoga students and clients that meditation is just TOO hard…and I have to admit that until 2 weeks ago, I succumbed to the same thought process.  It just seemed that my constantly busy mind was just too cluttered with chattering loud noise and a seemingly real ‘lack of time’ mindset to find even 2 minutes for practicing.  But all this stuff is just excuses because sitting still and being present to the chatter feels frustrating.

Or maybe even defeating…

Can’t say I know a single person who would love to admit and relish in the fact that sitting for even 2 minutes, perfectly still and silent, is probably one of the most difficult and yet nourishing things a person can do for oneself.  Yet, most of us never get past the difficult part to experience how healing and profoundly liberating a meditation practice can be.  I should know.

Try after try, year after year, meditation was something I believed I couldn’t do.  “It’s not for me,” I said.  “My mind just won’t get quiet,” I moaned.  For a long time, I thought that meditation was too simple and yet hard, thus I didn’t really need to do it.  I’d  even avoid it every time a practitioner I was working with would ask me to practice daily.  Then this past May, I sat in a 30-minute group meditation in LA suddenly faced with the reality that the noise in my head was exponentially louder than the room I shared with at least 100 other people.

The experience felt like failure, so I avoided it again…

Seven months rolled by and then BAM!  With the strain of fully committing to my dream life this past December (yes, taking a leap isn’t easy and involves way more energy than running on auto-pilot in a life you don’t really like), my Ayurvedic practitioner suggested meditation.  Finally, I internally and mentally said YES to this choice.

I’m no expert (all two-weeks into a practice that I can honestly admit that I’ve haven’t been 100% about) in this moment, but I realized 2 important things that I hope will shed some light for those of you who really believe it just isn’t for you:

1) In sitting for 15 minutes of meditation daily, it literally takes me more time right now to finally feel ‘still’ than the time I actually spend there.  Probably at least 10 minutes is spent wrestling with…well, me.  And it’s totally ok.  I never knew until now how tense I wake up each day.  This spells bad news since the level of stress only builds from there.

2) Maybe meditation isn’t about the goal of being still.  Instead, it might be about the process of becoming still in body and mind.  That journey, in and of itself, can provide valuable information and insight to dis-ease you regularly feel as well as how to begin the process of un-winding the baggage and stress we carry around like pack-mules.

Overall, I notice that when I don’t meditate, I actually miss it.  Feels weird and strange to ‘miss’ meditating, but I do (even the beginning moments of the most intense struggle to settle down and be still).  And on the days that I successfully sit for 15 minutes, I find myself calmer, more energized, and better prepared to deal with un-ruly situations and people.  For me, that’s a win-win.

I’ll share my journey about this new adventure as things continue to unfold, but in the meantime, I invite you to take a seat, even if only for a minute or two each day and practice sitting still.  Damn all those excuses and make the time for yourself.  Who knows…maybe meditation could be the start of a real personal revolution to feeling a little bit better and more at ease each and every day.

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Meredith Johnston March 5, 2012 at 1:49 pm

One of the things that I found helpful when starting a meditation practice, was practicing guided meditation. Sort of like with a yoga practice, after practicing at a studio, with other students, with a teacher guiding you, after awhile you begin to feel comfortable practicing on your own – guiding yourself through your practice on those days when you can’t make it to a studio. There are some free guided meditation videos available online on YogaVibes.com. Here is a link to a 15-minute practice with Cora Wen: http://www.yogavibes.com/videos/watch/free-yoga-video-meditation-cora-wen/

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Jennifer Fugo March 5, 2012 at 8:42 pm

Awesome Meredith! I appreciate you sharing this with me and everyone else that ends up here :)!

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