If you didn’t read part 1, go have a look here; but in short, I am meditating now.
Look, I didn’t INTEND to buy a full year subscription to the Headspace app. On the purchase screen it said something about $12 a month, and I thought gosh, that’s good value innit, I’d pay that for a pint and not even notice. So I clicked some buttons, yes yes confirm confirm I agree of course here’s my credit card’s CSV, and then suddenly it congratulated me on my year subscription and confirmed the payment of $120.
One hundred and twenty dollars. I sure as heck wouldn’t pay that for a pint.
By then it was too late to turn the car around. I could make a big fuss and demand a refund and blame the signposts on the road and feel like an idiot, or take the self-esteem option, which was to just pretend I’d driven there on purpose.
“Yeah”, I told people later that day. “I decided to just invest in a full year’s subscription to see some tangible results”. I sipped my coffee and nodded, sagely, like I had any clue about anything I was saying. “I don’t believe in doing these things half-assed, I mean, if you want to commit to something you really need to give it the space in your life to breathe. To unfurl”. Utter bollocks. All of that is $120 of shame talking.
This was a few months ago, and I have been meditating almost daily since, sitting in my lovely chair. The app tells me I have spent seven hours meditating. Seven hours! That’s almost a full workday of just sitting there with my eyes closed, being extremely zen.
Well, not quite. I am still just as terrible at it as I was the first day. My brain is like a telephone switchboard, just constant buzzing and talking and zzzzzp sounds. It does not shut up in there. At one point the Headspace app shows you a little animation of a monkey who wants to play in the jungle but keeps being gently guided back to sit on a tree stump and feel inner peace (it’s a metaphor, you see). I tell my monkey, look, please just sit down. He doesn’t listen. He frolics in the forest. He chomps on bananas. He threws his faeces at me.
I grow weary of disciplining my monkey.
The meditation starts with a body scan, where you think about each little body part separately to truly discover how you’re feeling. I zip through as fast as possible.
Head? Good. Ok next.
Arms good. Yep, back, sure. Legs. Done.
Now what? Can I have my next homework assignment, please? Do I get an A+ for finishing early?
Then I sigh and start over and try to really pay attention.
Ok. Does my back always feel like that or is it because I’m trying to sit as zen as possible? I wonder how a zen person even sits. Sigh, I know the answer already, it’s that they don’t overthink it and just sit in a way that feels right, but that’s utter crap, isn’t it? FEELS right? What does that even mean? I don’t think I’ve listened to a damn thing my body has tried to tell me since I was a child. Why would I, when I have Fitbit data and doctor visits and MyFitnessPal and this plant app that tells me how much water I need? That’s what health’s about. You mean I’m supposed to LISTEN to my FEELINGS? I’d really rather not. I think my body and I are better off living separate lives. I don’t want to meddle in its business, that feels far too private. Maybe I listened to it in my 20s? That was a fun decade, wasn’t it? I think I’d like to be 26 forever. It was just perfect. Not too flighty, not too mature, hangovers don’t bother you.
Oh, shit. I’m supposed to be meditating, not ruminating on age. This is an obtrusive thought and it should fuck off.
No, not fuck off. That’s harsh. What does the app say to do? Touch it with a feather and let it float away.
Ok, Mr Thought, here comes the feather.
Nope, it’s still there. How do I get rid of it? Just… stop thinking.
Woah, I just did it.
I’m still doing it!
I’m not thinking at all!
Is this zen? Am I calm? I’m enjoying this! Definitely meditating right now. I wonder how far off true enlightenment I am, out of ten. Is my foot itchy or am I just bored? I wonder if I’m allowed to scratch during a meditation. I think this counts as listening to my body. That, coupled with the whole enlightenment lark before? I am showing some real progress.
I must be nearly done. Maybe I sneak one eye open to peek.
I’m only two minutes in.
Ok. Eyes closed. Now, monkey, you sit on that stump and leave me alone. We’re doing this. We’re finding zen. If you misbehave I’ll smack you with this feather, so help me.
Let’s find that enlightenment bit again. That was good.