#240 – 249. Honest Question: How Do I Meditate without Going Crazy?

I love the idea of meditation.... but how in the heck do you do it?!

I love the idea of meditation…. but how in the heck do you do it?!

Meditation. I hear it’s super important. Really good for you. Right up there with exercising-and-eating-right good for you. Listen, I know some people have real problems, but between the nine weddings we’re juggling this summer (including our own), a few drives across the entire state of Wisconsin and just our regular lives, things have felt hectic.

I wanted more calm. Hence, meditation. 

My goal: 30 days of mediating at least once a day for 10 minutes. Seemed pretty straight forward and this guy made is sound essential in his TED talk. Of course, I had zero idea of how to do it. But that’s what the Internet is for!

Armed with the Simply Being app, a candle and a comfy place to relax, I was ready to do this thing!

Day One (Tuesday)

The Simply Being app. The reviews said it was great for beginners. 

The Simply Being app. The reviews said it was great for beginners. 

I rolled out of bed at 6:15 am, threw on a pair of sweats and a hoodie and headed for my newly beautified porch. I put in my headphones and queued up the Simple Being app. Some new-agey music softly played as a woman with a calm voice lazily stated:

Let’s begin by finding a comfortable position. 

It sounded more like “lesssbegin by finding a comfortable position.” I decided to sit with my legs out straight, back propped up on some pillows.

Now close your eyes. This is a time to simply….. be. 

Let go of whatever you think you have to do…

Simply be aware of your surroundings. 

Hmmm… birds chirping, car whizzing by, a light breeze. I am so aware.

Your mind may be very busy with thoughts. It doesn’t matter. Thoughts come into the mind spontaneously. Let them go the way they come. 

Thoughts about breakfast, coffee, why that bird is so damn loud… my mind was very busy with thoughts. At first, it was easy to let them go. But next thing you know, I realized I was doing the math on how many Simply Being apps would have to be sold for the whole thing to be profitable. Next thing you know, ten minutes had flown by. I felt okay. 

Day Two (Wednesday)

Woke up at the same time and did the exact same steps. This time, I realized the Simply Being voice sounds exactly like Tig Notaro. I felt the urge to mock the Simply Being woman. 

Day Three (Thursday)

In the hopes of not mocking fake Tig Notaro, I downloaded new app (Meditation). It ended up being the same woman’s voice (!), but with more variety. The morning session was okay. Later in the day, I had a stressful moment at work and tuned into a seven minute meditation session. It actually helped a lot. 

Day Four (Friday)

Did my morning thingamagig, but felt apathetic about it. 

Day Five (Saturday)

Josh and I were visiting his parents in eastern Wiscossin. I wasn’t going to let this change of venue deter me from meditation! I took a seat out on the deck at 7 am and popped in my headphones. Tig started talking. I was just getting into it, when I suddenly “became aware” that Josh’s dad was watching me from the kitchen. I was embarrassed, panicked and quit.

Day Six (Sunday)

Skipped due to previous day’s weirdness.

Day 7 (Monday)

Had a lot of anxiety about my morning meditation, but did it anyway. Feeling really bad about the fact that doing nothing for 10 minutes is actually making me more anxious. 

Why does nothing make me nuts?!

Why does nothing make me nuts?!

Day 8,9 & 10 (Tuesday – Thursday) 

Still feeling anxious. I loathe getting out of bed in the morning because I don’t want to do this anymore. By Thursday, I decide I am probably not doing it right. I think I need some guidance in the form of an actual person, not just some app I got on iTunes for $0.99. I quit.

I stopped 30 full days short of my 30 day goal. BUT I am willing to give it another go, I just need some assistance!

Can you help me?

Are you all into meditation? How did you start? Any advice for a newbie? Is there a place in the Twin Cities than can help me learn? Is there such thing as a walking meditation (where I get to walk)? That just seems like it’d be way up my alley. 

Please leave your words of wisdom (heavy on the “om”) in the comments. OR email me at heyeleanorproject@gmail.com.

With your help, I will learn to do nothing!

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Comments (8)

  • Kathryn 3 years ago Reply

    I’ve also always thought I should be meditating, but could never get into it. I did one of the intro classes at Common Ground Mediation center: http://commongroundmeditation.org/ It was really helpful in explaining that thoughts creeping into your mind aren’t a bad thing, and it’s more about training your mind to acknowledge the thoughts and emotions and instead of getting distracted by them, to move back to a place of calm. They also emphasized that the goal of meditation isn’t to be able to sit for hours a day mediating, but to be able to use meditation techniques during every day life to stay calm and relaxed. I still don’t meditate daily, but I figure if I can channel my inner calm when needed, then I’m doing ok. I did manage to reach a totally awesome state of empty-mind zen during the class, though, and I felt great afterwards!

    molly mogren katt 3 years ago Reply

    Nice! That sounds like a good lead, too. Plus, it’s by Verdant Tea (kinda) … my fave!

  • Jordan Dockendorf 3 years ago Reply

    Minnesota Zen Meditation Center (www.mnzencenter.org) has a combination sitting and walking daily meditation and intro classes. Personally haven’t been there but I have always wanted to go! I think they are donation based. Also, I found a weekly paddleboard meditation class out on Nokomis but unfortunately they are done having the classes for the summer. They were held on Wednesdays at 10:45am (www.paddlesculpt.com). I am definitely going to look for that class next summer. Seems peaceful! Good luck on your zen quest!

    molly mogren katt 3 years ago Reply

    Love all of this. I think MN Zen Center is by Lake Calhoun, right? I’ve been meaning to check that out. Also, considering signing up for this:

    http://www.csh.umn.edu/workshops-and-lectures/mindfulness-based-stress-reduction/index.htm

    I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews. Has anyone tried MBSR?

    Jordan Dockendorf 3 years ago

    Yep, right on the eastern side of the lake. Seems like a beautiful space!

    Thanks for the info about MBSR. I want to check that out! I have a counseling license that I need to keep up-to-date so the CEU option would be a win-win along with all that stress reducing 🙂

  • Tracy 3 years ago Reply

    I just started meditating this week actually! After putting it off for like… 10 months.
    I’ve been using the Headspace app, they offer a 10 days for 10 minutes program. I’ve really been enjoying it! It’s led by a guy with a nice sounding English accent– which you know, never hurts. 🙂

    molly mogren katt 3 years ago Reply

    I will have to check that out. English accent could be just the thing I need!

  • Jordan Dockendorf 3 years ago Reply

    Okay – one more thing! This popped up on my newsfeed and I had to share…

    http://yoganonymous.com/30-days-meditating-meditation-supposed-feel-like/

    Thought it was an interesting read. It’s like the universe is shoving it in my face the idea that I should be meditating. Not very zen, Universe, but duly noted.

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