Tomorrow I head to the Highlands. I'll be there for two weeks in a remote cottage. I realized a few days ago that it will be the first place where I will be staying that's literally on the earth, and not on the second floor (or fourteenth floor, as in Paris). It will also be the first time I'll be getting there by car, with me driving, staying in a place with four walls to myself and not sharing them with the loud retching upstairs neighbor (Stockholm), etc.
The loud neighbors are like my mind when it goes into overactive hyperdrive. And so, with all of the uncertainty before me, with all of the distractions of the past, and the daily musings on what the day will bring, I have been trying to work on the art of quieting my mind.
Since Berlin, since mid-July, I have been proactively trying to engage in this seemingly simple pursuit (it's not simple at all).
Luckily, I have an app for it. It tracks how long I meditate and how many days in a row (my "streak," so to speak) I've meditated. It also has different sounds I can put on like rain falling or a thunderstorm. I've only missed three days in August so far, so I'm feeling pretty good about that. I don't meditate for hours on end, but every minute I sit still in what I'll call "distracted silence" are important to me.
I know it may sound silly to use an app to meditate, but I like that it tracks these things for me. I like knowing that I've completed something. I like seeing all of the days of the month that I've made a goal light up in green circles.
Meditating is hard for me. I have an active mind. It is a remarkable overachiever in its ability to wander all over the place. From people in my life to what I'm going to eat next to feeling like I've got to get on with things. (When I first started meditating in mid-July, I would fall asleep during my meditation. Seriously.)
But every single time I sit down to meditate, I feel better. I relax. I actively work on breathing in an intention and exhaling an intention. I love it. And I love it when the app produces a simple "ding" from a bell. Timed meditation done. Something completed.
One of the things I do while I meditate I want to share here because nearly every time I do it, I feel my mind, spirit, and body relax. Sometimes it makes me emotional and I'll even cry, because I know that I'm really connecting with myself after I do this exercise. I know that I get emotional because I am often, like so many people, disconnected from my mind, spirit, and body, even when I think that I am in tune. It really takes something, as I'm discovering, to connect with myself. Having a thousand thoughts per hour is not being connected. It's being distracted.
Mind, Body, Spirit Meditation:
I put my hands in prayer pose to my forehead, my third eye, and say:
May my thoughts be good and true and beautiful.
I put my hands in prayer pose to my lips and say:
May my words be good and true and beautiful.
I put my hands in prayer pose to my heart and say:
May my heart be good and true and beautiful. Strong and clear, open and full.
I put my hands on my belly or my womb, hands gently holding my core and say:
May my body be good and true and beautiful. Healthy and nourished.
I repeat this three times, inhaling and exhaling as I go. I will often add a few more words to each. For thoughts, perhaps something like: honest and helpful, uplifting and expansive. And for words often something like: loving and kind, generative and thoughtful.
Every time I sit with myself in prayerful meditation, I do this exercise. And I always feel less foggy and confused, less angry and distracted, because of it.
Apps for meditation. Oh, to be a wandering mystic in a modern age...