Watch the clouds drift past the mountain. You are the mountain.
I don’t know about you, but I didn’t feel like I was the mountain.
I felt like I was climbing it. The longer the meditation, the harder it got, until the peak, that place of rest and tranquillity seemed so far away and obscured by clouds that I would never reach it.
But then, I realised it didn’t matter. As our guides have reminded us, almost daily, meditation isn’t about forcing our minds to be quiet. It’s about watching our thoughts like passing clouds. Even if the skies of our minds are entirely overcast, eventually there will be a break in the grey.
Some days, the sky was clear and my thoughts didn’t even drift in. Other days, the storm raged through the meditation. I even, occasionally, had to start again because my mind was so busy churning that I had no idea what the guide was talking about. This week was especially challenging. Who knew that twenty minutes could feel like eternity? It is almost finished? He isn’t talking. Is the player broken? No, I can still hear the music.
But maybe I made it up the mountain. Maybe I’m at the top looking down.
I meditated every day. Some days the results were obvious. I opened my eyes, love and joy emanating from every cell in my body, and floated through the day on a cloud. Other days I fell asleep, or felt terrible afterwards. Heart racing, cold sweats. This isn’t what I signed up for!
But then another reminder surfaced – meditation isn’t a quick fix. There’s a lot of toxic waste buried deep under the surface, and the process of sitting and observing our bodies and breath is bound to bring that up.
Have I changed?
I like to think so.
What have I learnt?
A few things:
1. The days when I feel far too busy to meditate are the days I most need it.
2. My mind is a fascinating place. Rather than push away my thoughts or get frustrated when they pop up, I should just let them be until they pass away on their own.
3. Sleep and meditation are not synonymous.
4. Some types of meditation work for me. Others definitely don’t.
5. Meditation is best done first thing in the morning and again before bed.
6. Following the breath is the easiest way to bring oneself into a meditative state.
So thank you tuja. Thank you guides. And thank you fellow meditators. It’s been elating, exhausting, calming, frustrating and enlightening. Here’s to thirty more days of meditation, and my newest challenge: doing it on my own.