Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Meditation Epic Fail

In my current journey of self-exploration, I decided to be open about trying a few new things that I'd formally been reluctant to try. Yoga was the first activity, and it turns out, I really like it! It was time to try another new thing.

I'm reading The Hunger Fix by Pam Peake, which talks about how the body chemistry can actually change as a result of diet. This can result in actual food addictions, with symptoms and actions similar to substance addictions. (I have a very strong suspicion that my body is addicted to sugar. But that's another topic for another day.) Pam recommends several actions for getting past "False Fixes" and consistently making healthy food choices. One of the things she recommends is meditation.

Those of you who know me in person know that I can be a bundle of energy. I like to be moving constantly, and am skilled at the art of multi-tasking. I've never considered attempting meditation for the sole reason that I believe I have a slight case of undiagnosed ADD and would have a tough time focusing on "nothing" for more than 5 seconds. Quite frankly, it sounded awful; not a challenge I wanted to attempt.

After reading Pam's take on the benefits of meditation, and then thinking about how happy people who meditate seem to be, I thought I'd give it a whirl. I knew it'd be difficult, but was ready to at least give it a fair shot.

One of the benefits of meditation is a reduced level of anxiety. I had a Toastmasters speech contest on Saturday, but decided that trying to meditate would raise my already high anxiety levels; therefore, I decided to begin on Sunday. (Sounds counter-productive, I know.)

On Sunday morning, I knelt on the floor and petted Ed for about 5 minutes and thought about how lucky I am to have him in my life and how much joy he brings me. Then I raced off to Bikram yoga. I tried to convince myself that petting Ed was a form of meditation, but decided that was kind of like cheating; my goal was to be more formal about the practice, not just to enjoy petting the Cutest Cat in the World.

Cutest. Cat. EVER.
On Monday, I thought about meditating, but then realized I didn't even know how to do it. What IS meditation anyway? What's the REAL definition? I spent some time researching and found some techniques on how to begin. I also discovered a few free podcasts, intended to walk people through a meditative state. I downloaded some to my phone last night in anticipation of really attempting to meditate today.

On Tuesday morning (today), I got up when my alarmS went off (which is an accomplishment in and of itself), took the dog out, gulped some Endorush, and snuggled into bed with Ed, ready to begin one of my new meditation podcasts. I picked the one titled, "Morning Energy," excited to be filled with energy for the day ahead.

An hour later, I woke up.

D'oh! I'd slept through the entire podcast and then some! Not only that, I didn't have time to do morning cardio, and I was going to be late for work.Talk about high stress levels!

Meditation Attempt #1 = Epic Fail

I like the idea of meditation and have high hopes of it bringing some calmness to my Type A personality and more awareness of why I made certain choices. Tomorrow I'm going to sit on the floor and try it again. No comfy bed, no warm, cuddly kitty to lull me back to sleep. I'll let you know how it goes!

Do you meditate? Do you have any tips for NOT falling asleep while attempting to meditate? Have you experienced any benefits from meditation?


  1. Great post! I am thinking about competing but I am worried about the impact that dieting will have on my emotionally/psychologically/physically.

    On a side note: I started out meditating as part of yoga (I don't think Bikram practices this) and sometimes I do breathing exercises when I am having trouble falling asleep. I think different techniques work for different people. From what I know, it isn't clearing your mind of thoughts but being more aware of your thoughts.

  2. Worth doing!! Start with shorter time frame,like 5 minutes and build it up. I use my phone timer. Don't lie down, sit up in a comfy position. Focus on your breath, just allow thoughts to flow, and let them go... eventually you will have moments "between" the thoughts. This is gold:)

  3. I love meditation. My advice would be not to follow anyone's advice. Find a book about meditation that shows you the billions of ways to do it and pick the one that resonates best with you.
    My style is straight up sitting in silence, observing the thoughts and letting them go, no mantra, no focal flame, no breath counts etc... just silence. It comes.
    It's hard at first.
    There are TONS of ways to start your meditation practice...mine actually started through running, or "moving meditation" as some call it. The rythm of the running/breathing got me into a meditation-esque state and made it easier for me to get into the zone when doing meditations the way I do them now.
    Did that make sense?

  4. Learning to meditate changed my life in the biggest way. If you are anywhere near a Shambhala Center (http://dc.shambhala.org/), go! The way they teach meditation is so accessible and it's great to have the community (sangha : )... very noncommittal as well. You don't have to do anything other than show up for one of their introductions to meditation. I'm always inspired to meditate when I read anything by Pema Chodron - she's a meditation rock star.