Meditation: Returning Home
Meditation, like yoga, is a practice that I value deeply. For me, one doesn't fully work without the other. Also for me, my life doesn't fully work without either.
But I've been avoiding meditation for a little while.
Things got really crazy this spring. Jason and I had decided over Thanksgiving that we would move to Kansas City this summer. In March, I was offered a job teaching yoga at a Kansas City middle school. That led to 18 hours of yoga teacher training every weekend for 10 weeks, April through June, along with continuing to teach full-time at my school in Denver.
I love to meditate in the morning, but I was absolutely exhausted during those 10 weeks, and I let myself take every possible minute of sleep until I had to get up and get ready for work.
And that was okay. I was listening to myself and to my body. And my yoga practice had intensified greatly during yoga teacher training.
But when the summer - along with many changes - arrived, and I didn't take up my meditation practice again, it was a sign that something was wrong. I had an edge that I needed to explore.
Meditation is difficult for me. Essentially, it means sitting with myself, making space and removing distractions. When I don't have distractions between my thoughts and myself, those thoughts become extremely clear - hopes, fears, stressors, to-do lists. They rush to the surface, and when I haven't been meditating regularly, I have a hard time choosing to set them aside, to continue counting my breaths (I mostly practice zazen meditation) and nothing else.
It often feels easier to skip meditation and to shove those worries to the back of my head instead of retraining my mind.
But one recent morning, I woke up and walked out to the sitting room. I felt compelled to sit on the floor, to close my eyes, to count my breaths. So I did.
And, as expected, it was difficult. My mind kept drifting away from counting to thoughts of the house we're buying, Jason's broken collarbone, and my new job. Some distractions were brief, and some lasted longer. But one by one, I recognized their presence, let them go, and returned to counting.
That first day, meditation was brief, but it was full. It felt like coming home. And in times of transition and upheaval, that couldn't be more important.
I'm sitting in meditation for a short period of time each morning now, and each experience reminds me why I return to this practice again and again. Training my mind to detach while sitting in meditation actually helps me face stressors and deal with them more effectively while moving through the world.
I'm grateful for the sanctuary I find wherever I sit in meditation.