Saturday, November 3, 2018

How I Started to Meditate

I've been thinking about meditating for years.

Although I don't remember specifically, I suspect that I first heard about mindfulness meditation sometime during my medical training.  It was probably during a session on "resiliency" or "work-life balance", and I was probably cursing the fact that I had to sit through an hour of stupid talks before I could get back to the ward to finish my work and go home.  I probably laughed at the idea of using my precious free time to sit on a cushion and focus on my breath.

But it kept coming up.  In talks, in articles, from friends and co-workers.  And always with an emphasis on all the things it has been shown to help with:  depression, anxiety, stress, insomnia, and pretty much every other bad thing that people struggle with.  So I read a book, which I loved.  And went to one class, which I hated so much I practically ran to the instructor to get a refund at the end of it.  And I thought often about doing it.  But never did.

(This is the point at which I would love to insert something profound about a life-altering experience that motivated me to start meditating.  In reality?  (Rosemary is going to laugh at this.)  It was a girl.)

I met a woman online who is super into yoga - does yoga at least once a day, reads books about yoga, goes on yoga retreats, and has a yoga tattoo, into yoga.  And...she was really cute.  And while I couldn't become an expert in yoga in the week between when we met online and when we met in person, I had enough knowledge about meditation that I felt I could claim some proficiency in it after a week.  And meditation is basically yoga without all the stretching, right?  So I started getting up 15 minutes early every morning to plunk myself down on that cushion and focus on my breath.

Sadly, the date was not the beginning of a great romance that I have failed to talk about here (Despite my abysmal blogging record recently, I would have blogged about something that exciting.).  But the meditation stuck.  From day one, I felt a little less anxious, and a little less stressed.  I slept a little better.  In exchange for getting up 15 minutes earlier, I really do feel 10% happier.

Apparently online dating can pay off.  

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