Ok, so I can’t exactly report that my first day into the 21 day meditation challenge has been a complete success. (But I’m still hopeful I can turn it around!) In my goal to learn how to quiet my mind and become a consistently calm parent, I signed up for the Deepak Chopra’s 21 Day Meditation Challenge. My boyfriend decided to do it with me—as we both like yoga, but find the meditation part difficult. For me, it’s insanely hard to stop my mind from wandering. Have you ever heard Ellen Degeneres describe her mind chatter during meditation in a yoga class? Well, that’s really close to how my mind works. Since she mastered her problem and now actually does transcendental meditation every day—I figure, I’m not a lost cause, yet!
But if today is any indication, it clearly isn’t going to happen over night.
During our first day of meditation, Deepak led us in a discussion about abundance for maybe 5 minutes and then asked us to clear our minds and meditate. I tried so hard to clear my mind. I focussed on the mantra: “Today, I behold all the abundance that surrounds me.” When we started, he said, “Let go of all thoughts and go within.”
He then said “So Hum.”
He repeated this slowly and rhythmically and told us to repeat So Hum mentally if we ever got distracted to bring our focus back to our breath.
Suddenly, a vision of the king of the lemurs in Madagascar 3 popped into my head. I see the silly lemur and his enormous brown bear girlfriend riding a tricycle in Rome.
“Who does that lemur voiceover?” I think.
“How fun would that job be? God, I love those movies.”
I breathe deeply, think of nothingness … and find my eyes open. I take a quick peak at my boyfriend to see if his eyes are open. They aren’t. I close mine again.
“Is he asleep?” I wonder.
“He said he didn’t sleep well last night. Didn’t he say he got up at 1:30 a.m.? Who does that? And why couldn’t he go back to sleep?”
“Didn’t that article in Cosmo say most men masterbate whenever they wake up in the middle of night to help them fall back asleep? Why is that? I don’t know of a single woman who would do that. Seriously. I just wouldn’t think of it. I always pick up a book.”
I take a few more deep breaths.
Without realizing it, I’m gone again: “the Laker tickets’ll go up. I need to buy them now for W. (my son’s birthday present) But which game? What if they lose? They’ll probably beat Sacramento. But maybe that would be a boring game. Isn’t San Antonio a better team to watch? Whose up on the NBA that I can call?”
I take two more deep breaths—and really try to clear my mind—YET again.
“Is this normal?” I think. “Why can’t I’ let go of my thoughts?’ (I think ‘let go of my thoughts’ in Deepak’s accent.) Where would I go? Would I actually go anywhere? Would my thoughts go somewhere? Wouldn’t I just fall asleep? And wouldn’t my thoughts just become dreams then? I mean, I’d still be thinking. I wouldn’t just let go of my thoughts and have my mind stop functioning, right? Wouldn’t it be dreaming at that point?”
And it’s over. Just like that. I look over at my boyfriend’s face with his eyes still closed and hope that he has actually fallen asleep. But he hasn’t. He looks up with a refreshed smile on his face and I fake one back.
This will get easier, I think.