So, while I am re-publishing posts about my struggles with meditation, how fortunate to stumble across this recent refreshingly honest piece by David Ferguson in the Guardian. Below is a short extract: for the full post, see link.
For me, successfully meditating has involved letting go of the need to do it well. So what if my mind flits from thumbprint cookies to lyrics by the Au Pairs?
Isuck at meditating. I’m one of those perennially distracted people who knows they need to meditate, has meditated in the past with some success and who knows they should meditate more, but who finds it so much easier to do things like dishes, laundry and exercising than to schedule time to do nothing.
When I read this Forbes article touting mindfulness meditation as the “next big business opportunity”, my initial impulse is to grind my teeth in frustration. Co-opting a centuries-old spiritual practice as the engine of your hip new startup strikes me as kind of like trying to repurpose an astrolabe as a controller for your Xbox, but whatever, Silicon Valley kids. You do you.
The science of the article is clear, though, and multiple studies have shown that people who meditate regularly experience improved focus, a greater sense of wellbeing, reduced stress and increased creativity. So if a bunch of Soylent-swilling bro-llionaire wannabes want to join the rest of us on our yoga mats and focus on their breathing, does their motivation matter?
Like a lot of people, they most challenging aspect of meditating for me is “clearing” my mind. After years of trying to sit and empty my thoughts and giving up because my brain seems to be persistently, irritatingly noisy, a friend finally explained to me that no one can entirely empty their mind. That’s a myth. To really empty your mind, you would have to be sedated or dead and neither of those states is particularly conducive to spiritual growth. Even when we’re asleep, as our dreams show us, we’re still thinking, feeling, worrying and having opinions.