Meditation failure

The title says it all. I am a hopeless case at meditation. I have tried it numerous times without success, and I will probably keep trying it. It amuses me sometimes to see the stereotype of so called artistic persons who are very meditative persons knowing full well that I am at complete odds wth this view. I even know fellow followers of Apollon who follow Buddhist discipline as part of their spiritual practice. And as it is supposed to be a path to enlightenment by the whole removing of the self through the silence of the mind in order to experience oneself as part of all nature and the divine…well it sounds nice, but it just doesn’t work for me. I don’t achieve that state by sitting crossed legged on the floor. In fact sitting just invites me to be fidgety. The only exception is if I wear myself out physically before attempting to sit still for prolonged periods.

This isn’t just about being fidgety in trying to get into meditation, I just really am horrible at sitting still. I am the lunatic you will see bouncing their leg while sitting on a chair, or twisting to the right and left if in a swivel chair. I have had a job before at a call center which featured me doing alot of the latter. It is also what probably drives me to twisting locks of hair around my finger, for which I am often teased. My mother just calls it too much nervous energy. But I am not very athletic, in fact I have often been a failure at many athletic things. I am not in shape enough to run long distances, and really my figure in general, even when I was capable for it, often made it more cumbersome. I get bored quickly with aerobics and weight training (been there, done that). About the only thing that really holds my attention and interest is dancing, which is something I would like more training in.

Strangely it is when my body is engaged in physical activity that I am able to let my mind loose. If a person sees me sitting, twirling a lock of hair around my finger while I am staring into space…there ya go. If you see me walking at a rapid clip down the road staring off into space….there it is again. And if you see me dancing with a somewhat blank expression chances are that it is showing up once again. These are moments when I can let go of my perception of self and can quiet the mind, likely because the body is not raging about how absolutely bored it is. It has even happened while cleaning…and my most quirky activity..pacing.

We often laugh at the stereotype of the person who needs to pace in order to do their best thinking. I pace alot, not necessarily because I need to think about something…though I do it more when I am thinking…but just to release energy. I have probably worn tread marks into the carpets of every home I have lived in lol. But when I do, especially if I feel a push of inspiration at the back of my mind, I am able to quiet my mind and the inspiration comes flowing in…whether it be images of something I *must* paint or lines of poetry that just *need* to write down. Of course the same effect often comes when I am drifting off to sleep and my sleepy brain is interrupted with images and poetic lines that won’t let me sleep until I write them down.

I tend to view this as chaotic meditation. It is not meditiation through peace and serenity…the closest I get to peace and serenity is when my body is so tired that it appreciates resting. Otherwise it merely an awareness achieved through a mental silence as the muscles of the body are engaged in which I am aware of first my environment, of the earth beneath my feet, of the air and the smells it carries…I am a part of this briefly before it is a mental white out and inspiration comes flooding in. Alot of my writing of essays, some blog posts, and even significant parts of my book in addition to many poems, were composed as after-effects of such experiences.

That said, I can admire those who find a state in peace and serenity of the mind and body. I may massively fail at it, but I do admire it.


10 thoughts on “Meditation failure

  1. Actually not even in East-Asia is meditation always defined as sitting still. For example, the Japanese tea ceremony is such a ritual thing that one learns to do it on “automatic pilot” and this allows the mind to wander and get in a meditative state. Origami and ikebana (flower arrangement) can also be seen as such meditative actions.

    • Interesting! I learn something new every day. I can see how the tea ceremony would work, though I had never thought of it in such terms. It is nice to know that there are other methods out there. Hmmm I will have to try the flower arrangement thing sometime.

  2. I cannot meditate to save my life. The only time I am close to it is when I’m shuffling a deck of Tarot cards. I can’t ground without someone telling me to or center, either. My brain just won’t shut down.

    • I have the same.But I find walking to be somewhat meditative… i often us ethe same routes, so it’s become such an automatism I only have to be mindful of things blocking my path, like people or cars, and be somewhat meditative, letting my mind wander about at the same time.

    • It is probably the familiar repetitive action of shuffling that is doing it πŸ™‚ I am sure you will find other ways to slip into such state if you can find other actions you can do repetitively in a similar manner πŸ™‚

  3. When I was in my early twenties I hit a point where I was tired of the limits my anxiety placed on me with regards to exploring new things. A dear friend brought me along to the Buddhist Monastery she adores for a day-long retreat on walking meditation. It was quite interesting and introduced me to the concept of moving meditation, and that’s what originally got me out of the trap of “sit still and empty the mind,” meditations. Which are hard and ultimately boring. I’d much rather explore my subconscious places by writing or walking or knitting. The walking meditation was interesting — it came with hand movement sequences — and for a lot of the morning I was able to also hide behind a giant bell that was waiting to be hoisted up after renovations were complete. I was also rewarded in the afternoon with being allowed to walk around the beautiful grounds and get caught in an odd downpour that lasted for an hour, yet passed quickly over the rest of the area. It’s one of my fondest memories, and part of the, “Oh, I guess I’m not making this crap up,” moments I hold dear.

    The idea that meditation has to be done in stillness is really just one sort of meditation. Yoga, for example, is also supposed to be meditation — distracting or engaging the body in things to do in order to let the mind go where it will. I know that frequently yoga is looked upon as physical exercise, but that’s a superficial understanding of what yoga is. There’s the walking meditations, there’s the Dervishes, there’s yoga, it goes on and on. As uncool as it is to sound so New Agey, with this, it really is what works for you. One size does not fit all, and some bits of one’s spiritual path really ought to be custom-tailored for the individual.

    Excellent post!

    • Wow that does sound like an interesting experience! I guess I need to look more into different forms of meditation rather than what most commonly acknowledged form of meditation…after all when reading about meditation you don’t really come across stuff like this. Everything I have ever read has emphasized being seated. I even tried so-called guided meditation once which I personally found to be a crock. I found myself wondering when the audio-record voice would shut up lol.
      But a walking meditation does sound lovely, and the so called meditation labyrinths that were popular during the victorian period (little more than prints on the ground with tile) has always been something I found fascinating.
      I have thought of trying out yoga before. I even took a couple of classes back in the day when I was in highschool before money dried up for it.
      Hmmm definently alot of explore and think about! Thanks hon! πŸ™‚

  4. What a coincidence, I was also working on a post about meditation today. But then I got busy and tired and it probably won’t be finished until at least Tuesday, but I see people who commented here already said a lot of what I would tell you. ADF meditation, at least, is not only the sitting meditation but often encourages members to try movement meditations of some kind. I am getting to the point where I can do sitting/stillness meditation for at least a couple minutes (believe it or not, major progress!), but I still find that I do my best meditative work while walking, whether outside or on an elliptical machine at the gym. The rhythmic movement helps me to focus and relax.

    • Well then this certainly makes me feel better that I am not the only one having such difficulties πŸ™‚ and moving meditation does sound like it would be useful indeed…if nothing else but as an aide towards developing less physically active forms of medititation. So thanks for your input! Sometimes we need that rhthyme to help us focus outside of our heads so to speak πŸ˜‰

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