About 20 years ago, when I was still young, full of youthful energy and my biggest concern was where to get my next sugary fix, I tried meditation for the first time. I’ll just admit straightaway that it was a complete and utter failure.
I had never tried yoga, meditation or any kind of mindfulness exercise. The whole concept of mindfulness was not a trending topic back then and anyone who twisted their legs like a pretzel and chanted Oms was considered to be a bit of a freak. My first encounter with all of that was through a couple I befriended in my early twenties. They had lived in Japan and had a room in their house dedication to yoga and meditation, which they practised regularly.
Whenever I visited their house, I would take my shoes off at the front door and put on one of the many slippers available for visitors. Anyone invited to dine at their house would be treated to quinoa, tofu, shitaki mushrooms and other foods that are in vogue right now but were unheard of back then. They also served the best guacamole I have ever eaten.
One evening, they announced that we would all meditate together. Being young and fairly outspoken, I politely declined, knowing full well that I could not sit still for longer than a few seconds, let alone for 20 minutes! Our hosts insisted, assuring me that it wouldn’t be difficult at all if I did as they said. What followed were 20 minutes of me wiggling, shifting my bum off and on the mat, flicking my hair off my face and peeping at the others as they sat perfectly still, their eyes closed and their breathing slow and even. There weren’t enough “I told you so” I could have said when I was allowed to speak again!
Looking back, that was probably the time in my life I most needed to learn the art of stillness. Unfortunately, I thought meditation was a little too hippy (and difficult) for me. In reality, I didn’t even know what it was or how it affects our brain and, consequently, our body.
Fast forward 20 years and I am only just starting to understand the power of stillness and of listening to your own body and mind. I haven’t been invited to meditate with my friend for a couple of decades now but I’m pretty sure I would be able to last at least 10 minutes before sneaking a peek at the others.
I use the app Headspace to meditate for 10 minutes every morning and I love it! Have you ever tried meditation? If you do, do you use an app? If not, what are your reasons?