Do you meditate?
What does that even mean, really? Do you have to sit with your legs crossed, arms out with your fingers pressed together? Do I have to say “Namaste?”, because I don’t even know what that means.
Because of my anxiety, often very severe anxiety, I have tried meditation. I have a number of people in my life that recommended meditation and so I looked into it. I downloaded apps, watched YouTube videos, talked to people who meditate regularly, set some time aside and decided to meditate.
This is what I learned – It’s just moments of quiet reflection.
Sure some people want to meditate in the manner I described above, some people buy fancy pillows, blankets, shawls and whatnot. Some people need complete quiet, while some can meditate in the middle of a bus station. Some people want the scents of essential oils, incense or other herbs and spices filling the room as they meditate and some just want to smell the fresh ocean air. Everybody should decide on their own what conditions are ideal, of course, because it’s their experience.
I decided that meditation, for me, in the traditional sense, is not something I enjoy. A quiet, empty room and me left to just what is in my brain can be a very dangerous thing.
A study I found makes the similar point. Researchers in the UK determined that more than a quarter of people who meditate have unpleasant thoughts. This study doesn’t come without its limitations; however, I think the fact that a significant number of people out there said they have negative thoughts while meditating is meaningful.
When I would have a bad day at work and my stress level was maxed, I would crank up what most people would describe as “angry music” on my way home. I’d scream and sing along at the top of my lungs as I drove the 10-mile stretch to my North Muldoon penthouse. Generally, that would relieve most of my stress built up throughout the day and I could enjoy my evening.
I consider that a type of meditation.
While I was focused on the song, the complexity of the guitars and music, my brain was given the chance to decompress, to unpack the stress of the day and refresh. You won’t find that type of meditation in any study, there’s no app for it and you’ll probably be hard pressed to find anyone willing to call that “meditation”, but honestly, what is different between the real impact of that and traditional meditation?
So, do you meditate?
What form does it take? Do you do something to unpack and decompress your brain that you never considered meditation? How do you find small moments of peace? Do you disagree with my definition of meditation? I’d like you to share your thoughts.