Welcome to my meditation station, a small oasis of calm in my otherwise chaotic office. It contains all that I need to unfocus my mind. Fresh flowers, a candle, a picture of my favourite view from the South Downs and a Feng Shui money frog, ribbit.
The idea is that I waft in here at 7am to meditate for 10 minutes using the Headspace app featuring Andy Puddicombe. Of course, you don’t need an app or an audio in order to meditate, but I require a prop to help tame my feral mind.
This morning things didn’t go to plan. I asked my 18-year-old son to leave me in peace for 10 minutes and just 60 seconds later, he came crashing into my office. He clattered about in the fridge looking for spot cream and then shouted ‘You’re burning a candle. That is NOT acceptable!’
‘Stop shouting at me,’ he shouted as I tried to make him leave. He wanted to hector me about the dangers of a naked flame in a sea of paper, but it was neither the time nor the place.
The session did not go well because I could not let go of my anger. It is impossible to find a quiet spot in this house at 7am and it was silly of me to even try.
Meditation is never easy no matter how silent the space. With me, it goes something like this –
Andy: ‘Take a deep breath..’
Me: (takes deep breath). Mmmm, that wasn’t very deep. Let’s try another one. Nope. Perhaps I need to sit up straighter. Oh no, I’ve lost track of what Andy is saying now…
Andy: Be aware of the sounds around you.
Me: What is that terrible noise? Is it the fridge? Perhaps there’s something wrong with it. It’s probably gunked up with spot cream. Who’s that coming up the stairs? Oh God, don’t tell me somebody else is going to come barging in here.
Andy: Gently note the thoughts…
Me: Thoughts, thoughts…so many thoughts. Let them go, let them drift… Shit, I forgot to send my accountant that form. When’s the tax due again? Where will I get the money from? I wonder if I should…Stop, stop, I’m thinking again. Andy, Andy? Why’s it gone all quiet? Why am I so shit at meditating?
It’s normally like this for the full 10 minutes. I am rarely ‘in the zone.’ It takes a day-long silent retreat or bone crushing exhaustion for me to get there. Still, I haven’t been doing it for long…well, that’s a lie, I’ve been trying and failing at meditation on and off for about two years now.
But this is the year. I am going to get my mind around meditating if it kills me (and let’s hope it doesn’t). Marion very wisely suggested that I ‘tune in’ to our collective group meditation at 7am no matter what I am doing and then take my quiet time when nobody else is around. I know it doesn’t take a spiritual mentor to point out the flaming obvious, but she has a point!