I don’t like meditating. Thinking a lot about everything is possibly my favourite pastime and so when someone says I should meditate it’s kind of like saying to someone who loves to crochet “Don’t crochet. Find time in your day to specifically not crochet.”
When I was a young kid, I remember my dad meditating. I remember thinking it was weird. Fancy being a grown-up and getting to do whatever you want, like buy every single tube of Pringles at the supermarket or drink Creaming Soda every day or ride all the cool rollercoasters – but instead, you choose to just sit down and close your eyes and do nothing.
I learnt meditation when I was around 8, when I started yoga. I was a super anxious kid – my head would often swarm with vivid and horrible imaginings of awful things happening to me and my family – and it used to give me chronic stomach aches. So to calm me down, my mum (who was way ahead of the yoga game) enrolled me in a kid’s yoga class. At the end of each class we were led through a very basic meditation. It involved feeling love radiate from within you like warm sunshine and fill your body, and then flow out your feet and fill the Earth. I liked how it made me feel and often let it play out in my head before going to sleep. But then I remember bringing it up around some primary school friends once and they laughed at me and said it weird. So I stopped doing it after that.
Fast forward to grown-up me, I’ve found myself consistently shocked at how frequently and adamantly most great thinkers in the psychology field insist upon a regular meditation practice. I mean, don’t they have anything better to do? And yet, time and time again, there it is. Just clap meditate clap So I tried picking it up a few times. I didn’t like it. I thought it was boring. It felt difficult most times, confusing other times, and all in all, not particularly useful. So I gave up. I had better things to think about.
Then late last year, I felt myself in a slump. That feeling where you’re being pulled in every direction (mostly from yourself and your own expectations) and I felt swamped and overwhelmed, like my face was wrapped with a wet towel and it was difficult just to breathe. I was mainly concerned with the fact that I felt chronically uninspired. My days seemed to fill up so quickly with meaningless fodder and at the same time I never had time to do things that really mattered to me. I went to my therapist and explained all this to her, and she said to me…
“Have you tried meditating?”
Pls, not this again.
Couldn’t she suggest something else? Like, anything else? When you go to chat to someone about how busy you are and they come at you with the old “Have you tried sitting down and doing nothing”, it’s like “Seriously? No.”
But she explained to me this notion of “creating space”. How the heaving pull of life can feel so stifling and suffocating when we neglect to give ourselves space from it.
I recalled the feeling of the wet towel. I wanted to breathe. So I tried meditating again.
I don’t like meditating. I don’t like cleaning my bathroom either, but when my bathroom is clean I feel good. That’s how I feel after meditating. It clears space in my head and as a result, helps me clear space in my life. It’s helped me become unwound from my wet towel and breathe through soft linen. I am not free of the weight of the world, but it’s no longer suffocating me.