Ringling Ding-a-ling in my head

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Ringling Museum of Arts Sarasota Florida

This photo was taken on the grounds of the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida. (If you look inside, it's empty.)

Now that we're in our third month of 2014, I think I can begin to reflect on meditation efforts. (I vowed to meditate every day this year.) Meditation is such a strange concept, really. How do we know when we've succeeded? It's similar to those questions that run around in my head: how do I know that what tastes bitter to me also tastes bitter to you? And what do growing pains really feel like? Did I just experience growing pains, or are they some other kind of pain that I just don't have the words for?

When I first started meditating, I couldn't really fathom what it was to "clear my head of all thought." I tried my best to focus on my breathing, which I knew meant I was still thinking about breathing. But eventually, it seemed right. Like thinking about breathing was the only thing I should've been doing at that place and time, that it was the key to being in the here and now. But once in a while, breathing turns into drifting. Not daydreaming, not sleeping, but something in between. Sort of like that little empty void you fall into before you really fall asleep, and the moments you wake up from only to wonder how long it's been, or what you were doing during that time.

That's been the highest level of meditation I've reached. I'm not sure if there's something more to it.

I started meditating, first and foremost, because I wanted to retrain my focus. I feel that over the years of increasing technological attachment, my attention span has suffered. Meditation has helped, truly. I'm just not sure that it's helped in my every day life yet. But it has helped me focus on any given moment when I make a conscious effort to.

The secondary reason for wanting to meditate was to eliminate some stress from my life, or have a better handle on my stress. Again, I'm not sure that I've gotten to a point where I've been able to eliminate any stress from my everyday life, but I have found it easier to fall asleep, and that definitely counts for something.

What does meditation mean to you? How do you know when you've been successful at it?

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