I have a problem I know absolutely no one else in the whole world has. I can’t stop thinking. This is a major problem especially when I try to go to bed.
One way to clear one’s mind is to focus on the breath entering and leaving the body. It may take a thousand years to master but it is the journey that matters not the destination. I say this because the moment I realize I have mastered focusing on my breath and stopped thinking, then I AM thinking and it’s like I’ve toppled a house of cards. But again, it’s the journey that matters.
So I set the timer on my iPhone for fifteen minutes and did this. It started out good. I would guess I must have gone a minute or two just focusing on my breath. I was thinking “my breath is entering my body” and “my breath is leaving my body”. Then it occurred to me I am still thinking of words, let me see the breath as an image.
At first I imagined the air filling my body like a balloon. This worked for a bit but then I tried to imagine my breath entering my nose and filling my abdomen. Of course it goes through my lungs, so then I wondered how it gets to the abdomen and where does it go? Does it fill the spaces between the organs?
In my attempt to not think I had so many brilliant thoughts, I wanted to write them down. Maybe that would help get them out of my head and help me focus on breathing. But I didn’t. The point was to mediate, not write. And though the point was not to think about it, I couldn’t help trying to remember my thoughts. So here they are in no specific order because I was doing my best to not think about them.
- I thought about my friend’s new blog Krazy is the New Black, in which she describes her experiences with depression. She says well-intentioned people think they can take you out for ice cream and make you feel better. I wondered if I ever did that to anyone. I must have and I felt bad.
- I thought about another friend who wants to write a book about her family’s experiences with depression though as far as I know she hasn’t actually sat down and started it yet. Maybe being a guest contributor on Krazy is the New Black would be a good way for her to express herself.
- Then I thought the following meme I saw of Facebook.
Um return to breathing!!!!
- I thought about all the things I wanted to accomplish and how I have to narrow down and focus. Which made me think of the speech my boss made about me at my farewell party. She listed all the classes I took ranging from Art to IT to English and many others. And my various other activities from line dancing (which I’ve done once or twice), teaching religious education at church and other things I can’t remember. Until I heard the speech I didn’t realize I kept THAT busy.
- Then I thought about another meme from Facebook.
- I got excited because I’ve been thinking about blogging about mediation for a few months now, though I didn’t think I should be presenting myself as an expert on mediation. But when I wasn’t supposed to be thinking I thought it must be like line dancing. No one’s ever going to learn the dance by watching, they have to do it. So here goes.
And then 15 minutes were up!
Thoughts will interrupt our peaceful time but it will take practice to learn to control them. In Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn a book about mindfulness mediation it says your thoughts are separate from you. You can learn to observe them objectively. Our thoughts can feel like we are standing IN a waterfall with falling over us like torrents of water. However, we can step behind the waterfall and separate ourselves from our thoughts and observe them like the water cascading down a waterfall.
The great inventors took time to stop thinking to solve a problem. Unfortunately, I can’t remember who it was, I think Thomas Edison, was trying to figure out the answer to something and it came to him as he was starting at the fire burning in the fireplace*. So here it is, a little reminder from me to you to help both of us remember breathe in and out. Lather, rinse, repeat and stop thinking!
*When I figure out who it was I will correct this.