Growing up, a good family friend of mine had a meditation room, which was always the most fun room to play in as we could bang on her variety of singing bowls, and small gongs while throwing around pillows and cushions. This mother, always appeared so tranquil and unperturbed by the craziness happening around her. So, when my first piece of homework for Yoga teacher training was to begin using a meditation app I was terrified. And yes, there is an app for that!
So, my first thoughts were of my blissful family friend and every show that has portrayed meditation as sitting silently without a thought in your head. Not thinking is a very difficult task for me; I am always caught up in the future, what do I need to do next, will I have time to get everything done, or maybe I should have tried to do that earlier today, did I email that person, what is going to happen if I didn’t… I never thought of this as a bad thing though, just that I was always thinking about things I had to do and finding the most effective and organized way to get it done.
The application we were instructed to use was called One Giant Mind. Initially, it leads you through twelve days of meditating, instructing you how to deal with different situations that may come up during your meditation and guiding you through the process. At the end it offers answers to any common questions you might have had during your meditation and a small area to journal about your experience. All of this seemed intimidating to me too, journaling? I think the last time I did that was maybe one day when I was twelve.
The first couple of days of using this app I was having problems with my internet, which made starting even more difficult than I imagined. The second day of meditating, it took over one and a half hours to download and when I clicked out of it accidentally it wanted to try downloading it all over again. By this point I decided that not throwing my phone across the room was my meditation practice for the day.
However, after using all the features that the app offered meditation seemed much less daunting. It offered you the option to move if you felt uncomfortable, recognized nodding off meant fatigue was leaving your body, and understanding that thoughts coming through your mind were reminders of what may be stressing you and that you should in this moment let this go and return to the designated mantra.
I was not quite sure what the point of meditating was, why not just take a nap? Go for a run? Do some yoga? But, after having practiced for just 12 days, along with doing some additional readings that were assigned, I have found myself being much more in the present moment. This has decreased my stress levels by not allowing myself to become engulfed in all the things that I have to do and instead be fully invested or completely enjoy whatever I was doing in that moment. I also tend to do it before bed, which has helped me fall asleep faster as I am not constantly thinking about everything I need to do the next day or throughout the week.