I really like meditation. Like many things in the “zen way” (whatever that may be, I think that concept has had it meaning over-butchered by pop media), its lessons aren’t to be taken literally.
It’s really easy to meditate. Find a comfortable place where you can lie down, or sit, comfortably. Close your eyes. Relax your body as much as you can. Now, focus your awareness on your feet (or another peripheral part of your body). Relax it. Move you awareness to an adjacent part and relax that one too. Do this until you’ve successfully relaxed your entire body. Then, pause your senses and awareness for a moment, and concentrate solely on your breathing. If you can concentrate on nothing at all, so much the better. Let yourself linger in this state and follow it wherever it may lead you.
On first sight, it really seems like an easy recipe for attaining the answer to life, universe and everything else. However, it’s a ridiculously hard challenge. First off, your mind wasn’t trained to stay still. Like a child, it’s always an elephant in a china shop. Constantly stumbling thoughts over another thoughts; and when it settles down, there’s always something in the corner, alluringly shining, longing for unrestrained attention. And off it goes. Have you ever tried relaxing while trying to look out for a kid that, “accidentally”, drank your whole mug of coffee? Yeah, you get it. Relax. Right.
But even when you do get over such enormous challenge of just relaxing on your own, you have the “concentrate on your breathing part”. The mischievous child is none the quieter. Ok, maybe a little. You did, actually, tame it just enough for you to relax. But that’s it. While you have that child to take care of, it’s going to be hell to concentrate on your breathing.
Ok, I just painted a really grim picture. However, there are some of us who did manage to educate themselves into not being such rambling rattling thinkers and did actually get around to meditate. How? They didn’t quit. And, more important than that, they kept at it lightly.
When your thoughts drift into the next shinning thing, it takes a while for you to become aware that you drifted. When you do, allow yourself to return to your effort. Just that. No self-incriminating talk. No “Damn it! Drifted again! I suck at this!” That won’t help you regroup. You know what really helps you regrouping? Just regrouping. Forget the rest. That’s already done. You’ve already drifted. Nobody cares. You’ve done no harm and nobody is keeping score (they would run out of algarisms).Get back to what you were doing. If you share this experience with someone else, they’ll probably just make a brief metal smirk and tell you “Yeah, that happens. Don’t mind it. It will get better with practice.” You just have to get back on your bandwagon. Just do it. Again, if it’s still not how you’d like it to be. That’s how you get good at things. That’s the recipe. Meditation is good exercise to get better at any and every thing, in a way.
Next time you fumble at something, do the same thing as when your heart skips a beat: keep beating.