Two weekends ago, I attended an one day meditation workshop. Sitting and meditating along with others in a large room opened my eyes to what it takes to “be still.” Before I share my experience, first a bit about the workshop.
The workshop was from 9 AM to 4 PM and constituted four sittings – 2 in the morning, and 2 in the afternoon after an hour lunch break. Each sitting was about 45 minutes (but felt like eternity). Each of us was sitting on a cushion. The instructor gave minimum teaching and allotted most time for experiential learning – the actual sittings/ meditations.
Even with a cushion, my posture was “off” – meaning I had a hard time keeping my torso erect. After perhaps thirty minutes into the first sitting, my legs went to sleep, my back started to ache, and my core body got warm with sweat started to drip down my back. I was counting my breathes for time and to fight off the embarrassing thought of quitting. It was anything but relaxing.
Who would have thought meditation be this challenging. No music, humming nor chanting to distract the mind. Only the breath as my flotation devise to save me from drowning in my agony. Thankfully, the instructor was helpful. He suggested me try to ignore the bodily discomforts as if I were watching an engaging movie. An analogy I could relate and readily accepted.
In four sittings, my confidence grew and my body was able to relaxed a bit more. In spite of the pains, I was able to progress and experience the first three (out of eight) steps of the breathing concentration meditation. They were counting, following, and touching (the breath). I was happy to get thus far without quitting.
Have you tried meditation?