Mindful Meditation

some photoshopped meditation image

So I think I get meditation. Well, as much as anyone can get an ageless practice. Really, this isn’t as stupid as me proclaiming “I getbirds!” but nobody gets birds. What are birds? We just don’t know. What I mean is that I understand its’ purpose, see value in it, and think packing it into the bundle of thoughts, actions, and goals that is my life will make a better me out of me. I’m a big fan of making a better me out of me.

While meditation is a subject that is just as broad as it is deep, I treat it like I treat most faith-based beliefs, by extracting only what I see of value from it. I only mention faith because its’ tied so tightly to religion, Buddhism specifically, though I’m sure it’s related to others as well. If you want to read more “factual” or “less-bastardized” information about meditation from the analytical internet hive-mind, you can do so here, but if you were interested in facts, you wouldn’t be reading the ramblings of a handsome mad man (which you’re doing. Like, RIGHT NOW).

Meditation is the training of concentration. I’ve had an issue all my life where I’ve had a hard time focusing on a single thought/plan/equation for an extended period of time. I didn’t have ADD or anything like that, I just found my mind wandering a lot more than I’d want it to. Meditation is about training your concentration like weight lifting is about training your muscles. Through effort, repetition, and escalating difficulty, keeping your mind focused on a single thought at the absence of all others. So far, I can understand why some pimp playas (aka Buddhist Monks) dedicate their whole lives to this pursuit. It’s hard. And I don’t mean like impossible super mario hard, I mean likely impossible hard.

My process for meditation is as such: First, I sit cross legged on a pillow, straightening my back as much as possible (I’m concurrently trying to work on my posture so that I don’t get an old-man slouch with a hump back). I place my hands on/around my knees just so that they’re comfortable and I don’t have to think about them. Next, I close my eyes, and alternate between breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth while focusing my mind on a single thought. For example, the first night, I focused on a fire stoker opening and closing in parallel with my breathing. I had a hard time focusing on that the other night, so tried out just focusing on my breathing. Whenever I do this, a lot of ideas and thoughts float into my head. Physical sensations, noises from my environment, and such. And that’s okay. You acknowledge the stimuli, then mindfully let it go, and resume focusing on whatever it was you were focusing on before.

I’m going to try to meditate every day, and see where that gets me. It’s only been a week or so that I’ve been doing this, but I do feel like it is making some kind of impact on my thought patterns, mood, and energy level. If you don’t hear me talking about meditation again I’ve probably given it up for whatever reason, though I hope that’s not the case. You hear that, Future-Ryan? I do so much shit for you, you OWE me!

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