Thinking and Breathing: The Art of Meditation

Corrine Bailey Rae has a lyric in one of her songs, “…this constant compromise between thinking and breathing…”  That’s how I would describe my “first” experience meditating.  “First” is in quotes because I’m calling this my first but it really wasn’t. I’ve had quite a few meditating firsts on my own, none of which have been very successful. My mind ALWAYS wanders. (Who knew this was normal?) So I thought it might be easier if I meditated with a group, kind of like training wheels. So this is my first experience meditating with a group. I can’t guarantee that you’ll understand this entry but here’s how it went:

meditate

The Crash Course

She instructed on focusing on my breath/breathing and demonstrated two positions. I chose the latter (I like to call it “horseback”). I’m sure my thighs were grateful for this decision. My left knee was not as grateful, but adapted well under the circumstances.

 

“There is no off switch for your thoughts,” she said, “when you catch your mind drifting, gently guide yourself back to your breathing.”

 

The Practice

I settle into position in the back corner. The lights dim slightly. Soft conversations melt into silence.

 

Three dings.

 

Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out. Am I sitting up straight? Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out. Someone coughs. Another adjusts their position. I feel my body tilting forward. Deep breath. Adjust. 25 minutes? Can I really do this for that long? Well it’s just like watching an episode of Modern Family give or take a few minutes. (repeat random conversations with myself and “gently guiding myself back to my breathing) Until…

 

Ding.

 

Wow. That wasn’t bad at all.

 

The Mindful Walk

(or what I like to call the leg-stretching portion) We silently follow each other in a line around the room, with no particular rhythm in stride, still concentrating on our breath, the floor creaking slightly under our feet, until we find our way back to our initial positions.

 

Round 2

Settle back onto my cushion. The room falls back into silence.

 

 

Oh, we’re doing it again? Okay. Sit up straight. Breathe in. Breathe out. (I’m pretty sure I fell asleep a little bit. When I woke up, I slightly opened my eyes to ensure I stayed at least halfway alert for the remainder of the session, while still attempting to focus on my breathing)

 

 

Three dings.

 

The Chant

It sounds beautiful, but I’m kind of freaked out. I mouth the words until I find the rhythm to match the others.

 

 

The Discussion

Time

Awareness

Intimacy w/ Self

Intimacy w/ Others

 

 

All in all, it was a great experience, and I’m so glad I did it. I still have a long way to go, but I think working out the kinks with a group will be helpful for me until I’m ready to take off the training wheels and ride on my own.

 

 

Have you ever meditated? Do you currently practice meditation? What has been your experience? Share in the comments.

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