Are We There Yet?

My first experience with meditation was like a "bootcamp" …. as "taught" by a man I lovingly refer to as the "Meditation Nazi" (think Soup Nazi from Seinfeld) His instructions were "Sit Down in a cross legged position , connect your thumb and index finger in a "mudra", close your eyes and focus on your breath ….. DO NOT MOVE.

The bootcamp / "buddhacamp" was every day for 30 days at 4:20 am. We started at 15 minutes and progressed to 1 hour. Silent, canned meditation. No guided visualization, no mantra … Just the instructions not to move and to focus on our breath. Sounds simple enough, right?! ….

I refer to it now as the "Are We There Yet?" syndrome My mind was not used to being still. It reminded me of traveling with young kids and their incessant "Are we there yet?" until you reach your final destination. Only in this case my "destination" was sitting still for 15 minutes. 15 minutes may not sound like a long time, (when you're doing something else) but 15 minutes of sitting still for me was like the longest car ride in history. It went something like this ….

Minute 1 … This is going to be a breeze … all I have to do is sit here for 15 min? No problem. Focus on my breath …. I can do this ….

Minute 2 … How long has this been? (Are we there yet?) It must be at least 10 minutes by now … My legs are killing me …

Minutes 3 to 15 …. My back is killing me. How long has this been already …? (Are we there yet?) Okay … focus on your breath …. you can do this … Wow … my leg really hurts … I wonder if this could permanently damage my knee … okay … focus … just breathe …. focus on your breath …. The person beside me is really breathing heavily … I wonder if they have fallen sleep … I can not believe how tired I am … why do we have to do this at 4:20 anyways … oops … focus on your breath …. watch your breath … just breathe …. Hey I really like that song " Just Breathe "by Faith Hill … (mentally start to sing it) …. Oh, I wonder how long it's been … (Are we there yet?)

15 minutes … Final destination.

But an amazing thing happened as the days went on … I began to realize that nothing was permanent. The sensations (pain) I felt in my body moved and changed, and I learned that I was not attached to the thoughts or emotions that surfaced. It was a powerful lesson for me that I did not have to try to change my experience of things- that I could be aware of what was going on inside me without judging it as "good" or "bad". Just to be.

And I was hooked …

So, the moral of the story is … do not give up. Your mind may try to play tricks on you in the beginning (Are we there yet?) But if you stick with it you'll notice amazing changes in all areas of your life. Not just when you're "Sitting Still" ….

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