We have a two-parter, folks. First up, we’ll go through the month so far in meditation. Then we’ll close with an update on where I’m at with my running.
Meditation: It’s Hard
S0 far, I’m 11 for 14. One day I just stayed up reading. Another I decided to socialize. And the third? I have no idea.
There are some recipes for my success that I’m picking up.
No. 1: Timing
I can’t meditate any old time. Well, I could; I just won’t.
That’s an important thing to realize. It means I know that I need to meditate around 8 p.m. That’s when my body is down enough to sit still but also awake enough to not just fall asleep.
I’ve tried meditating during the day, but it just doesn’t fly. I can’t make my post-lunch brain meditate, and my pre-lunch time is when I’m most productive, so interrupting with meditation meant to help me be more productive seems counterproductive to my productivity.
No. 2: Location, Location, Location
Can’t do it anytime. Can’t do it anywhere.
I need to be sitting. This causes problems. Remember the whole back pain thing? Yeah, that makes sitting still with good posture for 10 minutes a bit difficult. Basically, I can’t do it without something to lean back against. Even sitting in a straight-backed chair doesn’t really work. I need something that I can put my weight against or I’ll start bending forward eventually.
My options for meditating get messed with because of that. Most advice says to be seated. I have really one spot I can do this: sitting in my futon when it’s folded up (and not when it’s flat for sleeping).
I’ve gone a couple of rounds on the floor leaning against my bed, and that’s ok if I’m ok. But if I’m not feeling it, I have to then lie down on the ground, which borders on sleeping.
My comfy meditation spot is now a Walmart futon. Classy.
No. 3: My brain likes to think
I already knew this, but it’s hard to ignore when you’re in a month of meditation. Today’s stray thoughts in session included me considering romantic options (including making some situations up), thinking about how to ask a subreddit about meditation advice, and work. There was more, but there’s a point where you don’t need to know what I’m thinking about.
Basically, my brain likes to cycle through a collection of information when I’m not actively monitoring it, which leads to
No. 4: Have to focus on something
The idea of mindfulness meditation is that you focus on your breath. When a stray thought comes in, you acknowledge it, and then you let it move on by coming back to your breath.
Even when I get back to my breath, my brain’s capable of thinking about breathing and thinking about Star Wars, etc.
The easiest way for me to overcome this situation has been to narrate my breathing, so that I’m thinking “In” as I breathe in and “Out” when I breathe out.
When I’m on my game, there’s not narration, just focus.
Either way, afterward, I always feel better for having slowed down my brain for a few minutes. Hopefully I can survive the month and keep up a more regular habit moving forward, but we’ll see.
I’m plugging right along to at least be able to survive my first 5K in a few months. It’s been rough going, but only one nagging injury has popped up, so I’ve only missed one scheduled run so far. I’ll go into recovery right before the race, but return to the Zombies, Run! 5K app to finish my training so that I’m not an uneducated apprentice like Luke who inadvertently leads to Kylo Ren and his shenanigans.
After that, I’m not sure if I’ll return to my 25-minute goal or if I’ll chase another 10K. I might just keep cycling through the 5K app and increasing my running each time just to see how I do. Right now, I’m pushing pretty even with my first round with the app, though I’m purposefully pampering myself. It would be interesting to see how I’d do if I wasn’t starting from basically scratch every time I began the program. But that’s a tomorrow problem… Or a November problem, anyway.
I’ve got a 5K on the docket, so the next time you hear from me, it’ll probably be after I’ve gassed myself running beyond my meager means.
Until then, party people.