Listen, my mind has never been what one would describe as “clear.” It’s about as muddled as the Mississippi River swarming with catfish. (I have no idea what that is actually like. I apologize if catfish do not swarm).
Here is a stream-of-consciousness from inside my mind that lasted for 10 seconds:
i’m writing about my brain right now and what it’s doing this computer is slow but the screen is shiny it’s reflecting off the window and the crickets are so NOISY why are they so LOUD?! i wonder if birds eat crickets and my homework was due yesterday but i didn’t do it and he probably hates me but that cricket is so LOUD!
In actuality, that lasted for 20 seconds because I stared at the wrinkles on my left hand for the other 10 seconds instead of thinking.
Needless to say, my brain is a hotbed of activity that rivals any city in India.
I thought it would be interesting to see if I could quiet it, just for a few minutes, each day. And if so, would it make an impact on life in general? My original goal was to start off meditating for 10 minutes and then add 5 minutes on every day. But when googling “how to meditate,” it suggested only limiting myself to 2-5 minutes. So I started off with 4 to see how bad it could be. Was my brain able to silence itself for those 4 minutes?
Uh, no. Like, WOW-not-even-close. I never got above 4 minutes each of the 7 days. The four minutes weren’t painful, it just consisted of me attempting to clear my mind for all four minutes but hearing ear worms, my stomach digesting (good LORD is my small intestine loud!!), and other various noises both indoors and out.
I was able to get 4 momentary glimpses of empty-mindedness. Twice on Tuesday, once on Wedensday, and once on Thursday. They were breathtaking. My brain went silent and it was beautiful. And then my mind would WHOOOOSH back in, triumphing that I had accomplished what it set out to do. “HOORAYYYY FOR YOUUUUUUUU,” it screamed! And I would yell back “Shut UP!!!!!!”
I was discouraged the first day, but the articles said not to beat yourself up too much if it didn’t end up going perfectly. So I didn’t. Anytime I caught my mind drifting (quite frequently), I attempted to rope it back in and lovingly smile at my brain to see if it could try a little harder.
In the end, I suppose that this unexpected kindness to myself was the best thing I got out of it. Maybe someday I’ll be able to build up my meditation momentum. But if I never get there, that’s OK, too.
Other notable firsts:
* I had never tried Baconnaise! It’s actually vegetarian! I don’t know how, but it is. And it tasted like bacon, and it was the first time I had had that taste on my tongue in 17 years. It was glorious.
* I had never heard of Leonard Cohen. Or knew that he was the one that wrote “Hallelujah.” Or had heard these song lyrics (LOVE):
* I had never realized how much I live in my head, or why I do. I’m like a louder, clumbsier version of Amelie.
* I had never hung out at Rocky Neck campground after dark.