I gushed to someone the other day how I was trying to meditate each evening and how great it was going and that she should try it because it’s awesome how it trains your mind to be quiet- and how deeply relaxed you feel at the end, as if you’re a rock in God’s pocket.
What I was thinking when I said that?
I’m pretty sure my friend must have caught me after a really good session– okay, my ONE really good session- which probably happened because I sat down to meditate right after a walk through Azalea Dust Land, also known as my neighborhood, and the pollen clouds I had swum through had invaded my brain through my nostrils and ears and rendered it dead.
You should have seen how still I sat those fifteen minutes.
It was a one time thing, apparently. But I’m still trying and refuse to give up. I’m thinking that if I can ever learn to quiet my circus monkey mind, I’ll finally be able to pray to God without making a To Do list in the back of my brain. I pray best through writing and while I’m walking or driving and that’s fine, but I’d really like to learn to pray like many people seem to do, sitting still, without going to sleep. On Monday night, though, I had to wonder if God might prefer I spend my time doing something productive, like whitening the grout in my bathroom.
But way back in the old days of Monday, I was so full of hope. So I turned off the lights and sat down on my living room couch, which is a perfect site for meditating because it’s not so comfortable that you sink in and fall asleep, but firm enough to support your back. You can “sit and know you’re sitting” which is what the meditation people in my phone say that kind of cracks me up, even though it’s not supposed to.
So I clicked on my meditation app. I chose the one marked Practicing Generosity, which seemed like a good topic, and began.
As I closed my eyes and listened to the lady with the calming voice talk about how generosity offers us connection, and how as our giving muscle strengthens, we learn to let go of the instinct to withhold. I thought this was going so well and maybe I wouldn’t have to rely on pollen brain haze to make me sit still, when Rosie, my golden retriever, walked in and sat beside me. She rested her head on my lap (because she’s entirely too tall- we hadn’t expected that) and started breathing heavily.
Focus on your own breath, I told myself.
The lady started telling me to visualize a difficult person in my life and to direct loving kindness phrases their way, like “May you be safe.” “May you be happy.” “May you be healthy.”
As I tried to think up a difficult person, Rosie kept breathing HEAVILY, like we were having a breathing contest. That’s when I shooed her off. She responded by bringing me her squeaky toy.
Concentrate on your breath, I told myself, listening to her pad back in.
SQUEAK SQUEAK SQUEAK SQUEAK.
You can ignore that. You can. You have the power.
SQUEAK SQUEAK SQUEAK SQUEAK SQUEAK.
I felt her set her toy half on my lap, half still in her mouth, squeaking it as the lady kept talking.
Could the difficult person I was supposed to visualize be a dog?
I tried to keep breathing as I stood to put her toy on the mantle.
Who would be my difficult person? Did I have a difficult person in my life? I have a few that I find slightly irritating. But difficult?
As I filed through a list of people, still trying to focus on my breath, I heard the dog pad pad pad away.
Back to your breath, I ordered.
Focus on the rising of my chest, the sound of my breath entering through my nostrils. Don’t worry about picking a person. I don’t have to name a person.
Pad pad pad pad pad.
Rosie was back, but it sounded like she was dragging something. What was that? It sounded like her giant doggie cushion. I felt the corner of it on my right foot.
Ignore it, Becky. Go back to the breath.
The calm voice lady started saying something about letting go of the instinct to ruminate but that’s when I heard I sound I did not recognize.
I ruminated on it.
Stop it, Becky.
But what was that constant knocking? I cracked an eye open.
Wedged in between me and the coffee table, Rosie had folded her doggie cushion over, mounted it, and she and the pillow were sharing an intimate moment. Over and over. Girl dogs do that?
The lady was still talking, “May you be safe. May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you live with ease.”
I got up and tossed the pillow downstairs, where Rosie and it could have some privacy. Rosie ran happily after it.
FINALLY I WILL MEDITATE.
MEDITATING ON PRACTICING GENEROSITY WILL NOT DEFEAT ME.
I sat back down and had just began to sit, knowing I was sitting, and breathe, knowing I was breathing, when the boy/man who lives with us switched on the living room light and said “AAAAAAAH!”
“WHAT?” I shouted, refusing to open my eyes.
“What are you doing sitting here in the dark? You’re freaking me out. You looked like you were dead!’
“I’M MEDITATING!” I shouted. “AT LEAST I’M TRYING TO.”
“Do you know where the string bags are? I need a bag with a drawstring. Do you think they’re in the laundry room?”
“I will help you when I’m done,” I said through gritted teeth.
That’s when the lady said something like, “Every time you find that your attention is distracted, take a moment to see it as an opportunity to strengthen your giving muscle. Be giving to yourself. Be generous to yourself. Let go of it, and as you do, kindly offer yourself phrases of loving kindness.
May you be safe.
May you be happy.
May you be healthy.
May you live with ease.”
If Calm Lady is right, my giving muscle is going to have rock hard abs.
May you live with ease, dear readers!