Back to Basics: Meditation

My meditation view (usually done while laying on the bed or ground)

My meditation view (usually done while laying on the bed or ground)

At the beginning of May I mentioned that I’d be making an effort to focus on the things that make me feel like a whole person. You can read my initial post here. May was all about sleep (more on that later this week) and June is all about meditation.

I can’t remember when I first stumbled upon the practice of meditation. I think during my PhD program, which would mean some point between 2011 - 2016... so I’m still fairly new. My college hosted a few workshops on mindfulness meditation for the doc students. I also served as a research assistant on a project that used meditation as a tool (one of many) that trauma survivors who were also struggling with addiction could use during their recovery process. I got to read through narratives from qualitative interviews that illustrated the power that meditation could hold for personal growth. Since that time I have, on again off again, attempted to work it into my life as a daily practice. I went through a period recently where I was doing really well and then hit a huge wall. My mind rebelled. Whenever I’d sit down to meditate, my thoughts would overwhelm me... which I think also had to do with lack of sleep and stress. So I stopped. I didn’t have it in me to push through the mental block. Going into it now, I know to expect a fair amount of resistance, especially once I get further into it. Hopefully starting this process after having spent May working on sleep is a good idea.

Where am I at right now with meditation? Lately, I haven’t been doing much of anything. Prior to May I was doing guided meditations on my phone shortly before bed... but with my focus on sleep during May and limiting screen time before bed my progress stalled. I would occasionally sit (or lay) down to meditate during the day (i.e., before my screen cutoff time), but oftentimes that didn’t happen. I’m also not a great judge of time when I’m meditating (5 minutes can feel like 30 when you’re sitting with your thoughts) and the only clock I have is on my phone… so there was no meditation post screen shut off time for me.

What’s the meditation plan for June?

  • Work up to 30 minutes a day of meditation

    • I’m planning to start with 5 minutes and add 1 minute each day. At that rate, I’ll be up to 30 minutes a day by June 26th.

    • I’m allowing myself to break up the meditation sessions however I want… e.g., today my goal is 7 minutes, so if I wanted to do 4 minutes in the morning and 3 minutes in the afternoon, I could do that. Once I get to 20+ minutes I think this will help it feel more doable.

  • No guided meditations

    • One of my takeaways from May is that I’d like to become less reliant on my phone (and other screens) for, well, everything. No guided meditation apps for me (I do love insight timer though). I’ll likely use insight timer to time myself, until I find a non-phone timer I like.

I’ll update you in July on how it went (and stay tuned for the sleep update)!