When it comes time to meditate, I’m only human. I’ll find my brain speed up and I start thinking of the things I absolutely must do now. Then I realize most of them can wait 20 minutes and those that can’t–oh I have to watch this TV show, I have to call my mom, I have to help my friend, I have to feed the cats… I’ll meditate after–they generally aren’t worth the emergency effort you’re putting into them. So in that regard, in the classic sense of the phrase, I really have “nothing better to do,” it means you really have nothing better to do and out of boredom you will settle for just about anything to pass the time.
The irony is, no matter what chaos is around you, you have nothing better to do because meditation will calm the very chaos that is preventing you from meditating, if that makes sense. In that regard, there is nothing better because to just stop and give yourself 20 minutes is better. It might in fact be the best!
But let’s say you do have things to do. You’re busy researching something on the internet or working on an important project or you are thoroughly absorbed in something, even if it’s cleaning house or helping a loved one… anything. If you just stop at that moment, close your eyes and meditate for 20 minutes, you will open you’re eyes and see everything you have been doing in a different in a different light. You will be more efficient and more effective in what it is you thought was more important than meditating.
Some things I find so utterly important I think I could never stop at this point in the process. But then I realize as I’m working so intently on something so important, it is causing stress. Even working on an artistic project or something for fun that you become absorbed in can become stressful due to the perfection necessary if not the sheer intensity and focus you are putting into it.
Now that I have been meditating for three years, I finally notice the stress even the most wonderful of projects can cause. The intensity can be part of the fun. But I now stop and think, as it has been said of Transcendental Meditation, if you are too busy to meditate for 20 minutes then you are way too busy! So I even sometimes say, “OK, no one is here to enforce the rules. If I meditate for just ten minutes and really can’t stand it, I’ll just go back to my work.”
So, I close my eyes and more often than not, by the five minute mark I’m already realizing I had nothing better to do. And I mean that literally, not figuratively. There is nothing better than getting to the root of yourself and stabilizing. Change begins within, as David Lynch says.
It’s not just relaxation and we don’t focus on our breathing or acknowledge thoughts and external environment and try to change them or force ourselves to live with them or whatever these other meditations tried to teach me to do. It’s all just happening and you’re transcending. And coming up. And transcending. The is a very physical feeling associated with my meditations, sometimes. As I dip in.
Sometimes it feels like the chaos is still there and I’m just sitting there repeating my mantra wasting my time. But I’ve learned, it still worked then and it will still add to the cumulative effect you’ll start to notice over a short time.
I then come out of my meditation. I sit and just sort of enjoy the complete peace, which–in my case–sometimes only lasts on that intensity for a few minutes, but even then I generally have little revelations. If nothing else, I have some clarity and I’m never as freaked out as I was 20 minutes prior.
Sometimes I realize my activity before meditation was in fact a total waste of time or even unhealthy. Other times, if it really is worth pursuing, I approach it with a new calm and sense of clarity or at least in a more orderly fashion.
I have heard it said of TM that 20 minutes of meditation can add hours to your day through the sheer levels of improved productivity and restful energy gained. I believe it. But I’m only human. Sometimes an exhausting day is just exhausting. Chaos is chaos. But we can change our perception of the chaos. We can then react differently to the chaos. My meditation makes it all more easily dealt with and rather than spiraling out of control, it spirals into control.
Spiral into control.