I’m engaged in the on-going process of building a Habit System–a collection of habits designed to improve and change my life in several important areas. Some habits are building blocks for more than one area. Meditation, for example, addresses 1) focus and productivity and 2) blood pressure management, and 3) stress management.  Unlike most of my habits, however, this one is not going well.

This isn’t the first time I’ve tried meditation. I know it’s a healthy and beneficial practice, something that can be truly transformative, but…  Okay, let’s cut to the chase here:  I just don’t like doing it.  My brain is too busy, and it fights like a honey badger when I try to shut it down or reign it in.

But!  This time I am determined.  I’ve scheduled a few minutes (a VERY few minutes, at this point…) every morning before work for a simple meditation of following the breath and letting thoughts pass without engaging in them.  This is a lot harder than it sounds.  Here’s an approximate transcripts of one of last week’s sessions:

Focus on the breath:  In 2 3 4….  

Hard to do when you have squirrel brain.  Out 2 3 4….

::image pops into mind of a wire cage in the middle of a field, filled with frenetic cartoon squirrels::   in 2 3 4…

Let the thought go. Open the door, let the squirrels out…2 3 4… 

Okay, THAT was a mistake. Now I know there are a half dozen hyper-caffeinated squirrels out there.  How am I supposed to concentrate when there are squirrels lurking in my peripheral vision?  In 2 3 4…

hammy::Sudden mental image of one of the squirrels yanking up my eyelid, peering into my eye, then scampering off, giggling maniacally….  Out 2 3 4… 

Banish the squirrels. Envision pure light filling the open cage.  In 2 3 4….

Okay, now it’s raining. That’s not a bad thing, I guess–it’ll wash the squirrel poop out 2 3 4…

Huh.  Don’t think I’ve ever seen squirrel poop. Wonder what it looks like. Acorns, probably. In 2 3 4…

frank-the-flying-squirrelTHAT could be problematic, seeing that squirrels are jerks.  There’s got to be one squirrel in every crowd that packs poop into empty acorn caps and hides the fake acorns in another squirrel’s stash. Out 2 3 4…

::image of two cartoon squirrels pops into mind::
“Ack!”  ::phooey::  “What the–  Oh, man, I am gonna KILL that Dave…”
“Dude, this is the THIRD TIME THIS WEEK you’ve fallen for the poop acorn.  Focus!”

Oh, right.  FOCUS.  In 2 3 4…

::The alarm on my iPhone ripples gently. I end the meditation and rise to face the day, refreshed and enlightened. Only not really.::

But I will keep at it, because meditation is also on my list of habits that foster grit and persistence.

sisyphus