I’m at the airport in Las Vegas waiting for my connection to Detroit with about an hour and a half to kill. I both love and hate airports.
I love them because I think it’s so cool that it’s a hub where people from all over the world are all on their way to somewhere different. Where are they going? Why? Are they going to meet their significant other, who they’ve been away from for a long time, or is it a sadder occasion like arriving home for a parent’s funeral. Maybe it’s a soldier coming home from overseas. The people watching is just fascinating.
I hate them because I’m so easily distracted at airports (see above paragraph) by the flurry of activity…the announcers on the loudspeakers, the children crying…
One thing that has helped me get my bearings straight is my ability to go into meditation mode just about anywhere, thanks to my “audio cues” on my Iphone’s free meditation app called Relax Melodies. I have it set to “night” which is basically the sound of crickets chirping. For some reason this setting works best for me. Makes me think of lazy summers watching the stars.
I have started and stopped a meditation practice for years because I never got into it or enjoyed it. I vowed sometime last Fall that I would find a practice that works for me, and stick to it.
Most of the things I tried are what the “experts” would tell you to try: guided meditation, not judging your thoughts, counting your breaths, using a timer to make sure you were getting in your
five, ten, twenty minutes sessions in…but none of them sat right with me.
Guided meditation was OK, but I grew tired of the cheesy new-aged narrator…and found that over time I was bored hearing the same one over and over again, and it made me agitated. Scrap that idea.
Counting or focusing on my breath actually made me feel MORE panicky. I felt like I was going to hyperventilate. Not very zen…NEXT!
The timer on my sessions just made me feel pressure to feel relaxed within a certain amount of time. I felt nervous that at any moment I was going to hear the alarm clock go off, and that made me feel anxious.
So what finally worked?
Growing up I was always a daydreamer. My teachers used to tell my parents, “she could be a good student, but she is always daydreaming.”
I could not stop, in fact I downright enjoyed it. It was an escape that I always felt lost in. So lost that hours could go by and I wouldn’t have even noticed. My fantasies, always focused on successful, pleasant scenarios, made me happy. It was my play time to come up with stories using my imagination.
I have never lost this ability, although I learned how to “tame” it as I became an adult and realized I couldn’t “daydream” my life away.
But on one of my many attempts to meditate, I sat down and decided to not “not think,” but instead daydream. I used Relax Melodies as my “soundtrack,” and decided to just stop when the time felt right.
I set myself up in the same way I had previously tried to meditate, meaning I sat on a pillow with my back against my bed with my legs crossed. No candles, no alter, nothing fancy.
At first I cut myself off fairly quickly, getting antsy and thinking I needed to do something more “productive,” but as time went on, I began to look forward to my daydreaming sessions…finding it sometimes more rewarding then turning on the TV.
Now it’s become a habit, and I can actually sit upwards to an hour in one session, without feeling uncomfortable. And the result is a very relaxed state of mind.
How has meditation benefited me? Well, it’s always tough to quantify exactly, but my blood pressure used to be slightly elevated, and now it’s in a completely normal range…this after I tried everything “normal” people do like eat right, exercise, and maintain a very healthy weight.
Is it due to meditation? Not sure, but it sure as hell can’t hurt right?
The point is that so many studies show how beneficial the practice of meditation can be…but the thing is to ignore what everyone else says you should be doing, and find out what works for you.
I have an hour till my flight leaves…meanwhile a woman walked by completely screaming at her husband…and the slot machines at the airport keep shouting, “WHEEL! OF! FORTUNE!” Looks like it’s time to put on those headphones and mentally doze off to my happy place…
Do you meditate, and if so what kind of practice works best for you? If you don’t or haven’t tried, what is stopping you?