Before I really get into this post and lose all my readers who aren't interested in IB's adventures in meditation, does anyone know how I can convince iTunes to treat a particular mp3 file not as a podcast but as a music file? I could just copy it in Audacity but I'm sure there's something I could do in the tags or something. The reason I ask is because my meditation timers are part of the Zencast podcast, and unless I constantly mark them as unlistened, they are deleted from iGor whenever he's synched with my iTunes on Katy. So right now, I don't have my 10 minute timer, and have instead been using my 20 minute timer yesterday and today.
Gil Frondsell has on occasion described meditation as a rodeo: sometimes you just have to stay in your seat for the duration. This is a great description for someone like me who is plagued by anxiety and a restless mind - sometimes just sitting there is a physical challenge and I can count it a win if I do just sit it out.I
'm new to meditation in general, and particularly new to this daily habit thing - in fact it's only been this week I've actually tried to do it as part of my getting up routine. I can't say whether or not it's made a massive difference in my life yet, but it has made the morning more pleasurable, and that's enough for me. I decided that it was probably best to start with 10 minutes to work it into my schedule and to let me get used to that time sitting still before moving up. So I did - until the accidental deletion. Yesterday I sat down with the 20 minute timer and resolved to at least give it a go. Unfortunately the half time chimes, that the 10 minute doesn't have, knocked me out and I couldn't get back in, so I only managed a 10 minute there. This morning, however, I bore with it past the half time marker and onwards, and that's when the rodeo analogy really kicked in.
When boredom of anything kicks in, I get physically uncomfortable. My legs start twitching and my body starts fishing for excuses to get me up and out. When I'm working hard on anything - particularly in that time of hyperfocus that comes before a big deadline, for example - I start needing to pee a lot, and will get up and leave my seat every half an hour or more because my brain has decided to rebel by lying about what my plumbing's telling me. I get this physical need to get up and walk. So when my brain is restless and I'm sitting in meditation, I become physically uncomfortable; this morning the flesh on my legs began to creep and the urge to flex my legs and get out of the position became a physical reaction I had to fight - it wasn't just not-biting-your-nails bad, it was must-stop-the-pain bad. Part of my brain was desperately trying to estimate how much time I had left, the rest was focused on observing the sensation, and knowing that it was just a sign of restlessness, and that I just had to wait it out. And yes, part of me was counting my breath, but with this physical feeling fighting for my attention, I made myself sit in that. (OK, OK, I admit, part of me was composing this post, but mostly as a way of describing the sensation).
Anyway, I made it through to the end of the 20 minutes with a great sense of relief, and stronger for the knowledge that the restlessness that so often plagues me can be sat out. I can stare out my own boredom issues and win. Sometimes, yes, the best thing to do when I have twitchy legs is to get up and walk, but I know that if I think it's best to sit it out, I can. So I'm not quite sitting for 20 straight minutes focused on nothing but my breath - I don't think I'll ever do that, willing as I am to try - but I can sit in one place for 20 minutes. And that's a great thing to have discovered.