What do you feel when you hear the word Meditation?
TBH, it kind of annoys the shit out of me. It conjures up all sort of images of woo-woo enlightenment, sitting with your perfectly aligned self in a perfectly quiet space complete with candles and a gong, being able to shut out the dumpster fire of 2020 that is actually raging stronger than ever with a single breath or utterance of “Om”.
Well, yeah, of course that sounds really nice, but I think it annoys me so much because–
A. I’m really not that good at making myself do it enough and
B. It immediately makes me want to rebel.
So, rebel I do! Maybe it’s just me, but the word meditation makes me think that I should be doing all of those things I mentioned above–in between yoga, a 3 mile run and tantric sex, of course–and if I’m not doing it just that way, I’m doing it WRONG.
Yes, I look like following most of those rules in that photo of me above, but you can bet I have my own workarounds, because workarounds I need. And just in case you do too, here you go.
First off, I hereby declare that I’m no longer going to call whatever it is that I try to do to help my mind calm the fuck down on a semi-regular basis a meditation;
I’m going to call it a Mind Chill instead.
‘Meditation’ just sounds so pretentious. And how easy it is to sit and think about NOTHING? It’s not. Which is why it’s a practice. No one is supposed to be able to do it well, unless you are some kind of guru or something.
So here’s my MY
Meditation Mind Chill Reality:
- Don’t expect not to ever think about anything, because you WILL. You are not doing it wrong if you think thoughts! You just notice them and let them go, as well as you can.
- You don’t have to sit on a fancy pillow with your legs just so in a special corner where the temperature is a comfortable 71 degrees and just the right incense. Or a gong. You can get quiet anywhere: the kitchen table, the edge of your bed, the toilet. (you just have to set down your phone first.) Or with a bong.
- It doesn’t even have to be quiet. You can listen to music. Or a guided (meditation) through an app. Or a guided (meditation) with Morgan Freeman. (it’s a thing.)
- You can give your mind a rest by focusing on something peaceful. Instead of fighting with yourself and getting all anxious trying to think about absolutely nothing–which of course defeats the entire purpose– picture yourself in a calming place. Like you’re on a sunny beach. Walking through a forest. In Rivendell, sitting on a picnic blanket with Legolas. (oh, is that just me?)
- You don’t have to sit at all. You can take a mind vaca while you walk. A walking meditation is awesome. There are guided ones (of course there’s an app for that!), or you can just concentrate on your own steps, do a mindful body scan as you move, or just notice the outdoors around you, focusing mainly on the beauty of it all.
- You can even do things that are repetitive, or things that just kind of make your mind go blank. For example, I go into a total Zen place when I’m doing a jigsaw puzzle. I find that most of the time I literally don’t think about anything as I’m trying to figure out what piece goes where–instant Jedi Mind Chill Master!
Whatever you want to call it, it’s really just about giving your poor old overworked brain a break. There are so many studies about why this is good for you, which include benefits that are both physical and mental. And glob knows we could all use some of that.
I feel like the word ‘meditation’, and the image it suggests, can be daunting and intimidating, and therefore Flawed Rebels like us don’t do it–we don’t want to be tied down to no stinkin’ rules!
So are you with me? Let’s call it a Mind Chill, and find a way to get more of that into our lives. If you have other ideas you want to share, let’s hear them! Gong!!!!!