There’s hope for everyone when it comes to meditation, says Lexie Williamson 

Regular readers of this column will know that I’ve been on a mission to meditate for six months now, under the guidance of my local Buddhist monk (what? you don’t have one?). It’s been a roller coaster ride, if you can have one of those sitting still. My monk favours the real deal meditation with no incense, music or candles so it’s been tough for a yogi used to such distractions.

I’d like to share what I’ve learnt so far:
1. No one has ever died of pins and needles (as far as I know). The plan is not to get involved emotionally in the fact that your left foot is numb. Be reassured that it is still on the end of your leg and will function correctly once the blood is again flowing.

2. It is possible to fall asleep sitting upright. I remember watching my dad sleeping in his armchair and marveling at his ability to drop off vertically but now find myself doing precisely the same thing in meditation. This may, however, just be an age thing.

3. You may not like the present moment. The ‘here and now’ is more likely to comprise of staring at a crumb on the carpet than lotus blossoms unfurling before your eyes. Go with it. Accept the crumb and do not judge it.

4. Staring at a flowery carpet for 20 minutes is a better trip than LSD. If meditating with the eyes open (as is advised to prevent point 2 from occurring,) choose a room with plain flooring. Dumbo-type elephants cavorting across the floor are distracting.

5. The harder you try to conquer meditation, the harder it is. This may come as a shock to Type As but meditation is not something you can just nail by grit and determination. It cannot be ticked off a ‘to do’ list. Ever.

6. Your ear will never be as itchy as it is right now. It wasn’t itchy before the teacher said ‘let’s meditate’ so why does it feel like there’s a small army of ants marching across it now? Strange.

7. The human mind is impressively inventive in offering up good reasons not to meditate. Watching Come Dine with Me should not be one of them.

8. My Buddhist monk suffers with none of the above. He describes meditation as akin to diving into a cool swimming pool on a hot summer’s day or in other words ‘pure bliss’. So the pins can needle if they want; I’m not giving up.

Lexie Williamson is a yoga teacher and health and fitness writer (pulseyoga.co.uk)

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