Meditation by Mistake
MEDITATION BY MISTAKE
I remember the first time I fell into a meditative state; it was completely unintentional, and I had no idea what was actually happening. I was in my yin yoga class that I had started attending to supplement my CrossFit training. I was curled over my left leg in Pigeon pose, listening to my instructor as she told me to focus on the breath. Inhale and exhale, it was that easy. Next thing I knew my mind was free, I wasn’t thinking. Just breathing. Just being.
The next day, I met with a friend for coffee and explained to him my experience, “it was the craziest thing, I literally wasn’t thinking about ANYTHING!” To which his response was “sooooo, you meditated?” HA! No, obviously meditation was a bunch of people sitting crossed legged on the floor, making the “okay” sign with their hands, and repeating “OM.” Clearly, I was not meditating…
In the coming weeks, I kept thinking about what he had said. Maybe I should try this whole meditation thing. I called out for my roommates to make sure they weren’t home, sat criss-cross-apple-sauce on the floor and closed my eyes. I tried to breathe the way I did that day in yoga, and then the insecurities hit me:
‘You’re sitting on the floor breathing, are you serious? What if someone walked in and saw you right now? You look like an idiot. What was that, is someone home? *buzz buzz* “Ooooh, text message.” You’re saved. Open your eyes, check the message, scroll Instagram, move on with your day. Tell no one.’
As you can tell, it didn’t quite go as planned. I’d given up. Maybe meditation wasn’t for me, but that feeling I had in yoga, that was for me. I sat down and started thinking ‘okay, maybe you just need a teacher, like your instructor that day, telling you to breathe.’ So, I looked up guided meditations on YouTube.
I vividly remember the speaker trying to get me to visualize that I was diving into the most beautiful swimming hole I had ever seen, where I then found a sea turtle— ‘wait, how’d a sea turtle get into a lake?’—and swam with— ‘how can I hold my breath this long?’—until we found a glowing rose— ‘what is this, Beauty and the Beast? And how can a rose grow, let alone glow, underwater’— and swam it to the surface together. I opened my eyes and told myself that I’d never admit to anyone that I’d done that, yet here I am admitting it to you.
After more trials and tribulations, I slowly found my guru groove. The self-deprecating, insecure thoughts began to cease. I could allow myself to sit on the floor and just breathe without worrying about feeling exposed, or wondering what I looked like to the outside eye. I let vulnerability in.
Some days are easier than others. Some days I’m immediately centered, others I’m not. Some days I peek to see just how much time of my guided meditation is left. Sometimes I fight falling asleep. This is why both meditation and mindfulness are referred to as practices. Don’t beat yourself up if everything doesn’t go as planned. Show up, put in the work, and watch the journey change the expected destination.