Sunday, November 10, 2013

Meditating, a year later

I used to think it ironic that meditate has the word edit in it. In a way, it seems as though editing is the antithesis of peace and peace is the goal meditation. But, I'm finding the act of meditation is not a direct path to peace but one of self examination which, much like in creative writing, can lead to new realizations.

Dog walk shot VI, 2013
I've been meditating for about a year now, and the process of my practice has changed. Recently, I realized that the sitting still, breathing and repeating a simple mantra distances me from the more bothersome thoughts a little quicker than it used to. I usually have just enough time to sit for about 15 minutes a day. When I began, I thought 40 minutes a day was necessary given my levels of stress, but I'm a little more realistic now. I think this 15 minutes a day is perfect because I don't see it as another thing I need to work into my schedule (another form of stress) or as a means to an end. I simply see it as part of my life, and if I miss a day it's no big deal.

One thing I've noticed changing is that as I observe my thoughts now, and I see them in shapes. For instance, when I'm really nervous about something it seems the source of that nervousness is replayed in my head on rapid-cycle whereas when I'm upset, I can visualize the thought itself, the source, in solid but jagged lines as though in an angular and bold font. Either way, the study of thoughts become abstract and less immediate. This awareness is distance from reactive cycles, and distance is perspective, which is peaceful.

I've been extremely busy and stressed lately, and these moments of peace have been like coming home. And sometimes, in the midst of a stressful or overextended feeling, I remember that home. So a year in: I think meditation is truly valuable in my world. Thought I'd share in case you read my Every since I started meditating post on how I thought meditation may have been putting me in a bad mood. I still think it was. Maybe a person needs to get closer to the less pleasant thoughts before she can stand back again and really look at them. Stressed, yes, and busy, yes: I still am. But, with a little more perspective, I realize that I can let it all go when I need to.

Writing is another form of meditation I have a longer history with, and I haven't posted much writing news lately. I will soon. I have a new interview on my writing process at Awkword Paper Cut (my husband did the image that accompanies my answer), and I received two acceptances recently, one from A-Minor and one from apt. I have quite a few short works coming out, and I look forward to sharing them.

Have a beautiful, peaceful week. -Jen

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