I really like the idea of meditation. I struggle with the execution, but I really like the idea. So many people swear by it as a key to happiness, health and wellbeing – and I don’t know about you, but that’s definitely a key that I’d like to have. As with a lot of people, I have one of those ‘monkey minds’ that finds it a bit tricky to slow down and focus (or not focus, I guess) on meditating.
A few years ago, I was doing a course at the Happiness Institute here in Sydney (where the unhappiest person was actually a nun, whose convent-mates sounded like a pack of she-devils – but that’s another story for another day) and one week the class was about meditation. We had to sit there and meditate – on cue, sitting on the uncomfortable hard chairs, under the glare of fluorescent lights, tired and distracted after a day at the office (or convent). I tried, I really did. But all I could do was hear sounds from the outside world – oh, there’s a garbage truck; hey, that’s a bird; aha, the door just opened; what a crazy ringtone. That kind of thing.
I was optimistic that I’d be a star meditator when I was rested and relaxed during a week at the fabulous Gwinganna health retreat in Queensland a couple of years ago. After dinner one night, they brought in a monk (I think he was a monk) to lead us in a meditation. It was a freezing cold night, we were sitting on a hard wooden floor, we hadn’t had caffeine or alcohol or sugar for days and nearly everyone was twitching. And throughout the meditation session (we weren’t meant to close our eyes), the monk kept CHECKING HIS IPHONE. Uh huh. Not sending messages or playing Angry Birds or anything like that, but leaning over and touching the button to check the time. I wondered if he had maybe booked back-to-back meditation sessions on that cold mid-week night up in the remote Gold Coast hinterland.
But I’m not giving up on meditation – I’m trying again. With the big guns, Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra, no less. They’re offering a free 21-day Meditation Challenge through the Chopra Center, including daily emails with guided meditations and inspirational bits and bobs from Oprah and Deepak. It kicks off on 11 March and if you’d like to get on board, you can sign up here. I don’t know much more than that, to be honest, but it’s gotta be worth a try, right?