I approach meditation with trepidation – maybe because of my past exposure (and near addiction) to extremes. Let me explain.
My fanatical religious upbringing was all or nothing, black or white – from the age of ten on. Things were good or bad, and I was therefore good or bad (mostly bad in my mind). Things were right or wrong and done rightly or wrongly. I therefore pretty much knew I was doing it all wrongly. I didn’t pray enough. Or well enough. I didn’t sacrifice enough. (Or well enough.) I missed my mother too much when she left us. I secretly wanted to be with her. I could never measure up.
I’m afraid I might fall into that type of thinking – all or nothing, black or white – with a meditation practice. Trying to do it right again.
My anorexia in my early-twenties (my self-punishment for leaving my fanatical religious upbringing) was also all or nothing, black or white, good or bad. When I get stuck in “knowing” there’s a right or wrong way to do something, when I get rigid or inflexible, I call it my “anorexic thinking,” and it chastises and flagellates me.
I’m afraid I might fall into that type of thinking – good or bad, right or wrong – with a meditation practice. Trying to do it right again.
So I approach it with trepidation…and gentleness.
Instead of formally meditating in all the ways one is supposed to, instead of sitting silently in a cross-legged position, making sure my back is straight, I sometimes just take “quiet time” with a cup of green tea in the early morning. I still follow my breath. I still catch myself thinking and bring myself back. I still feel my legs on the chair, my feet on the ground, the cup in my hand, and I hear the birds outside or the cars passing by. I still quiet my mind and notice my presence in my present. And bring myself back again when I lose it again. But I don’t do it all the “right” ways because I don’t want to get stuck in trying to do it all the right ways.
I could probably be more evolved – more healed, more spiritual – if I meditated more formally, even a bit more rigidly. But it’s not worth it to me. I don’t want to risk getting caught somewhere in my mind I don’t want to be. Or at least not more caught.
So I approach meditation with a bit of trepidation, and a ton of gentleness and forgiveness. I allow myself to not do more, try more, be better. I allow myself to just be.
Isn’t that what it’s all about anyway?
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