I’ve resisted a regular, sustained meditation practice for years. Even when, at a retreat with Natalie Goldberg, and she pretty much guaranteed that meditating would help my writing, I still blew it off.
Even after becoming a yoga teacher, I blew it off.
Sure, I’d show up for a few days, weeks, even months but then I’d miss a day, then another and another.
I think I’ve always had this picture of how meditation should look and the way my wild mind flitted all over the place like a hummingbird on speed did not fit that picture.
In short, I felt like I failed every time I sat down.
Of course, I knew that bringing my mind back to my breath or mantra was the practice. But mostly I knew that in my head. Part of me still felt like I should get past that stage, that it was a hoop I had to jump through.
Being laid up these last few weeks, I’ve had plenty of time to meditate. And I have. Daily.
Along the way, I stumbled across this video, which I just love. First, it’s animated and takes some of the heavy seriousness out of meditation. Second, one phrase in particular has stayed with me. That each time we bring our awareness back to the present, it’s like a bicep curl for our mind.
See, the thing that I feared was failing is exactly the thing needed to strengthen my practice, my mind, my awareness.
It’s so liberating.
I no longer fight my thoughts. Each time I notice my attention has strayed, I bring it back to my breath or mantra, knowing that that moment, that moment of starting over is the whole point.
It’s not failure.
It’s the practice.