Thursday, November 11, 2010

Struggling with Knowing vs Doing

Penelope Trunk wrote about meditation just recently and how everyone should be doing it because the science is there on how supremely beneficial it is. She goes on to state she used to do it and stopped although she knows how great it can be.

I initially started meditating because I knew about the facts behind the science and during my “lost” period, I figured the answer might be in meditation. I bought the most stripped down, non religious, 8-minutes a day guide on meditation that was hailed by all the major media outlets. Every week was a new set of instructions to build upon.

I meditated faithfully for the first 6-7 days. It was a lot easier than I had imagined it would be. I stopped, however, right before the 2nd week was to start and I was to build upon what I learned that first week. Part of the reason I stopped was that I could see that meditation was not the answer to why I felt so lost. I also stopped (unfairly) because I didn’t see any benefit, but how could I only after a few tries? Most importantly, it’s so hard to stick with a routine or to have discipline when you KNOW something is helpful or beneficial but you have not EXPERIENCED IT YET. I am sure I suffer from some instant gratification just like the rest of my generation.

As much as I know this about myself, science, human psychology, and human behavior, I have actually stuck to very disciplined behaviors that I still continue today. Several years ago I started to cut out caffeine and my sleep improved drastically. Already a night owl, I sleep at a more reasonable hour and I fall asleep within 20 minutes. I experimented not drinking water past a certain time before bed to prevent waking up from in the middle of the night. The few weeks I did that, my sleep was amazing. However, I didn’t continue it. I once cut out rice, pasta, and bread for 3 months and noticed the lack of sluggish feeling afterward. I get these glimpses of feeling extraordinary and experience the payoff, but sometimes it’s not worth the tradeoff. I still continue avoiding many items others consume because I see it’s worth the extra effort.

I’m contemplating picking up meditation again. My current goal is to find a way to become even more compassionate, grateful, forgiving, accepting, realistic, and joyful about my life. Like Penelope said, while I am no longer lost, feel strong, and have such inner peace, it’s the time to strengthen myself mentally and emotionally so I am much more resilient when something strikes again. A daily ritual is what I need and I’m still experimenting what I want to do. I’m going to start with Monday nights being for “reflection time.” It will be a way for me to carve out time to just sit and think, and then create blueprints for how I want to live out my life in the long-run. Any start is always good.

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