If you asked me two years ago to go to Kripalau, I would have politely declined. “I don’t do yoga.” “Meditating is something I try to do every once in a while but I just can’t seem to get it off the ground.” My back issues, my busyness, all holding me back from gaining traction in what I feel like are two extremely important areas of my life now.
After my back surgery in October, I vowed that I would make meditation a priority. I knew from all my research and trainings that meditation helps with anxiety (certainly had that during recovery) and, in our distracted, crazy world we live in, letting our brain take a break could lead to less stress and more awareness and mindfulness in our everyday lives.
Sometimes, in order to gain momentum, you need a certain amount of openness to wonder that goes beyond studies and research. One door opens many. But you need to open that first door.
I started with guided meditations (there is actually a few ways to meditate) and discovered I liked that. Sitting by myself in silence? Not so much. I like a theme to focus on and a little music. Repeating a mantra to yourself helps – such as “Om” or, in the case of this meditation, I was repeating the other morning “Sheevo Hum” (sanskrit for “I am infinity”). Some of the mantras sound a little silly and are difficult to pronounce, which makes it kind of fun too.
This morning, as I sat in quiet contemplation, trying to remember the mantra I was told to repeat “ahem prema” (sanskrit for “I am love”), my cat Marshmellow (note spelling, my daughters choice) started meowing. Loudly. Every 5 seconds. I quickly forgot the original mantra and my mantra became “meow”. I became afraid that she would silently pad in and jump on my lap, but I was determined not to break silence. It became all too distracting, my thoughts about love and peace muddled with “meow” and “please let me outside”.
It’s okay. I have learned that there is no perfection in meditation, just like there is no perfection in being a mother, the star student at school or the healthiest eater. I am a work in progress. I will simply start again tomorrow.
And like the masters say: I will breathe in, breathe out.
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