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Friday, June 7, 2013

Why I Meditate

The morning is historically one of my most anxious times. During periods of my life where I've had a lot going on and feel overwhelmed (college, 2008, any random Tuesday), I wake up in the morning and the second my brain comes online, it's anxious. My brain is like a factory churning out anxieties. It hums and clanks along faster and faster until finally, after a few minutes or an hour or until I do something to shift myself, it locks up. I am immobilized and I can't do a damn thing for the rest of the day beyond managing basic responsibilities and trolling the interwebs.

That sucks! Because I've noticed that in order to get traction in any area of my life, I must move forward toward it, lean in, as they say. So I don't actually make any progress on any of the things I'm anxious about when I am in anxiety factory mode. What am I anxious about? The same stuff you're anxious about. The environment, money, people I love, people I loathe, etc. etc.

Here's what happens when I meditate: the thoughts keep coming. But they slow down. I tend to prefer mantra meditation, so I sit down, I allow the deluge of thoughts to cascade down over my whole body, and then, floating up in the wake of the tide: a mantra. Sometimes its a particular Sanskrit mantra I was assigned in a meditation course I did. Sometimes it's "I love myself". Sometimes I just sit there and some other phrase comes up. It doesn't push the anxieties away. They're still chuggity chugging at the surface. But underneath them is another refrain. So the thoughts at the surface get more diffuse, less insistent, and finally there's enough room in my mind for other thoughts, often my most creative ones, to arise.

"I love myself" seems pretty cheesy, right? More on that another time.


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