You’d Think I Would Be Good at it By Now
I just had my four year anniversary. I’ve sat for 40 minutes a day every day. When I started doing meditation, I thought that after a few years I would be able to float off the floor, stay focused for the entire session, and have achieved nirvana. It didn’t turn out that way.
OK, I’m pretty sure you can’t actually float and achieving nirvana is quite a stretch. I did think I would be able to keep focus for long periods of time. Instead, my mind wanders just as much as it did when I started. Sometimes I can only count a few breathes before my monkey mind is swinging through the branches again. I’ve had quite the grand tour of my past memories, the to do list, and what I’m going to have for lunch.
What has improved is my ability to get ‘in the zone’ when I do manage to stay focused. By ‘in the zone’, I mean a calm quiet feeling and being able to tune out what’s going on outside of me. When I first started, it would often take the entire sitting to get to that point. I remember several times getting there only to have the timer go off for the end of the session. Now, I can there after a few minutes on a good day.
Occasionally, if I have a good session, it will carry out over the rest of the morning. I just have to stop what I’m doing and I can get right back into it. A few hours is all I could manage. By the evening, it’s gone. At other times, an insight about myself or the world will pop into my mind. They have never been anything earth shaking and I usually forget what they were not long after. I’m glad that I had them.
Despite my lackluster progress, I’ve never thought about quitting. Maybe it takes six years before you really get good at it. Maybe it’s just the journey.