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?
I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!
(as in ‘what it’s all about’)