As I said before, I’m taking a mindfulness meditation class and I can’t say as I particularly believe in mindfulness meditation. But, as I mentioned, I need to give treatments a chance if I want to get better, so, believe in it or not, I’m giving mindfulness meditation the ol’ college try.
The First Class of Mindfulness Meditation
In the first class we learned about deep breathing and the body scan (article to follow). These are really simple skills that anyone could do. But thinking about sitting still while “breathing” and “scanning my body” seemed kind of silly to me. I didn’t see how anything useful could result.
But I tried it anyway.
The First Mindfulness Meditation
Firstly, we were asked to find a “sacred space,” and “sacred time,” for our mindfulness meditation practice. Well, I live in a shoebox and I’m not really the kind of gal that calls a corner “sacred,” so I skipped that bit.
Instead, I sat down on a couple of red cushions in front of my matching red, cat hair-covered couch and bent my knees so that they rested against my coffee table. (You’re not supposed to sit like that either. Call me a rebel.)
I sat, closed my eyes and I deep breathed. Deep, cleansing breaths while my mind settled. And then I started my normal breathing pattern and focused on my breath and counting each breath. I counted to 20 or so always remembering to be in the moment and when my mind wandered, I brought it back to my breath.
Then it can time for the mindfulness meditation body scan and that’s when things got weird. I focused on the top of my head and how it felt. How my scalp felt. How my hair felt against my scalp. How the universe felt pressing down on my scalp. Serious, all-consuming focus.
And then I moved my focus slightly lower to a ring around my head that included my forehead. And as I did that, as I moved from place to place in my body, I found that a white scanning light moved through each part of the body. It was a wiggling, white light that glowed. It moved slowly. And where it was – where I was focusing my attention – I was warm and tingly. Very sci-fi. Psychosomatic, I know, but really, really cool.
And this isn’t to suggest that my focus didn’t wander – it did – or that my thoughts stopped – they didn’t – but each time my focus wandered I just gently picked it up by the scruff of the neck and returned it to the white light. I had to keep doing this during the mindfulness meditation. Over and over. But it worked and the light kept moving down my body, little by little.
The First Mindfulness Medication Result
We were asked to do 5-10 minutes of this per day for the first week but I found the complete scan took 15. Somehow, the white light “knew” how long it had to take when passing itself over my body. I know; weird, right? A let’s not forget, I don’t believe in this stuff.
And after the mindfulness meditation I felt a pervasive sense of calm. I felt like I could breathe easier and deeper. I felt like a voice in my head had shut the hell up. It was just a little quieter in there.[push]I felt a pervasive sense of calm. I felt like I could breathe easier and deeper. I felt like a voice in my head had shut up. It was just a little quieter in there.[/push]
Of course, there are many voices, so it’s not like my mind was noiseless. And the calm only lasts some time after mindfulness meditation, not all day or anything like that. And I don’t find that mindfulness meditation has any effect on my actions. But overall, it has a positive effect.
I can tell you on the fourth day I cried. And I cried because I haven’t had a therapy that was able to touch my psyche in so long that I can’t even remember the last time it happened. I can’t remember the last time any therapeutic technique (outside of meds) gave me any benefit. I can’t remember the last time someone said that something would work and it actually did.
Mindfulness Meditation – Week 1
So I would call it a very exciting and positive week. I’m not suggesting enlightenment or sudden glorious transmogrification. I’m just suggesting that the mindfulness meditation produced a full-body sense of calm and a slightly quieted brain.
And I will take what I can get.
* Note: This stuff takes practice and everyone is different so if you decide to try it, don’t be disheartened if it doesn’t work out the first, or second or third time. I had an instant result but that might be a bit more than one can reasonably ask.