A week ago, I posted my reactions to a recent meditation seminar I attended. I concluded with a commitment, in print, to meditating daily for one week and then reporting back. This was crucial because I have literally spent the previous decade planning to start meditating, but never actually making the time to do it.
Briefly, here’s how it went… I set aside 10-15 minutes daily, but I didn’t follow my instructor’s advice in two respects. First, I couldn’t find one consistent time of day that worked every day, so I just did it whenever it best fit in. That said, on at least two of the days, it didn’t fit in until it was late and I was tired and ready for bed, but I still forced myself to set my iPhone timer and do it. Second, I didn’t do it in the same location every day. In fact, one day, I did it while sitting in a doctor’s waiting room, and another while waiting at the salon! Again, I just set my timer, closed my eyes, and tuned out. I wasn’t sure what people would think but honestly didn’t worry about it.
The results were big. First, the practice calmed me, at least for an hour or two afterwards. I would imagine–and most meditators report–that the relaxation effect gets increasingly pronounced and prolonged the more one meditates. That alone would sell me on the whole deal, but almost more importantly, I found myself able to sleep through the night without disruption the entire week. Considering my sleeping travails of late–waking in the middle of the night and staring at the ceiling for 2-3 hours, or waking at 4:30am and never falling back to sleep at all–this excited me most.
My instructor talked about how meditation has lead him to “expansion”–a hazy concept (to me) that has something to do with identifying with the greater whole and with an enhanced sense of love toward the self and others. I don’t rule it out as a possible future experience, but for now it doesn’t resonate.
No matter. Being a more relaxed person (and parent), and sleeping through the night, are all the reasons I need to continue carving out daily meditation time. If enlightenment follows, so much the better.