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Beginning Meditation – My Monkey Brain

Posted April 24th, 2012 by Salina with No Comments

On March 30th, 2012, I began the Subtle Yoga(™) Teacher Training and Personal Transformation Program.

Among other things, one of the requirements of the program is twice daily meditation. Over the course of the first two months we (my fellow program participants and I) are required to meditate for at least ten minutes twice a day. After which time we have agreed to increase the meditation time to 15+ minutes twice daily.

After that first weekend I was nervous, but ready. Or so I thought. I knew that it would be tough making the time to meditate, but I figured this gives me a reason, an excuse, to get away from it all twice a day for at least ten minutes at a time. If life beckoned, I could say, “Hang on life, I HAVE to meditate – it’s for my class”! Yeah…not so much. The truth is, it was not even life keeping me away from it, at least half of the time, it was just me deciding I’d rather sit on the couch and watch Netflix at the end of the day then go meditate.

In the three weeks between our first weekend and this second one that just passed, I meditated only a few times. Mostly on Tuesday and Thursday mornings because I just started teaching a new class that has me up at 4am. It’s perfect. On those days I wake at 4, do my meditation, shower and prepare for work and head out the door. Since I am the only one awake in the house at that hour I am even able to observe one of the components of the Subtle Yoga (™) Program that we practice on our weekends together – Mona Brata, a practice of silence and inward reflection. From the time I wake at 4 until I get into work at 5:35am I don’t have to speak, it’s really quite nice!

We just had our second weekend together and I am feeling a renewed confidence in my ability to do my meditation twice each day. Last night I attempted to go to bed without doing the mediation and when I found myself unable to sleep and needing to because I had to get up at 4am, I dragged my butt out of the bed and did a little meditation.

This morning, 4am came way too soon and I was exhausted, so I switched up my routine a little by showering and getting dressed before sitting for my meditation, because I was sure I would fall asleep if I didn’t.

After I was dressed I set my timer for 12 minutes, found my comfortable, cross-legged position for meditation and began to bring my awareness to my breath. That’s cake, it’s how I start every yoga class. Feel my sit bones in the floor, become aware of my breath, got it.

The next step was to begin to count my breath, if my mind wanders or my thoughts take over I am to “gently corral” my thoughts and come back to counting. After counting for 2-3 mins, I will begin to use my mantra. The mantra is a phrase that has meaning for me that I repeat to myself with my breath to focus my attention during my meditation. That’s what the process looks like on paper, this is what it looks like in my head when the “monkey brain” kicks in:

[Inhaling] One…two…three…four…[sniff] what is that smell? [sniff, sniff] I’m not counting. [Exhaling] one…two…three..four…smells kinda like…ignore it…five…six [inhaling] one…two…three…four…five…is that cat pee? Did that damn cat pee somewhere? Seriously how am I supposed to sit here and meditate if I think I smell cat pee? I should just sniff around and make sure she did not pee on the floor. NO, you are meditating, deal with it later. Corral, corral! One…two…three..four…five…six. I can switch to my mantra soon. One…two…three…four…I should start keeping a meditation journal on the website, people might like to know that meditation can be challenging for everyone in the beginning. If they could only hear what goes on in my head…I seriously smell pee, if I find pee on the floor I may kill that cat! One…two..three…oh I’m on my mantra now…mantra…mantra…mantra…seriously is it ten minutes yet, I don’t know how much longer I can do this. Just breathe Lina and wait for the timer…Ok, mantra…mantra…mantra…no, I need to know…[peek at timer] Ugh! three more minutes…mantra…man, the babysitter is coming today and the house is a mess…

That’s just a fraction of what goes through my head in 10 minutes, but tomorrow’s another day so I will keep trying. No wait, tonight, yes, I AM meditating tonight – really!

So, if you’re interested, stop in and see how I’m doing, I’ll keep you posted. And feel free to share your meditation stories, experiences, and tips with me, I’d like the company.

~ Lina

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