Late last January, I made a resolution to meditate every day for a year and yesterday I hit my 300th consecutive day milestone. I use an excellent meditation app called Insight Timer. There are thousands of free guided meditations and also a cool timer. (At the moment I prefer the ambient sound “Winter fire” with Ombu interval bells.)
Occasionally I browse through comments on the 365 Days Together group page and I’m amazed by what people write. They claim that meditation has completely changed their lives for the better. In contrast, my discoveries have been more subtle. The most helpful thing that I’ve observed is how painful it can be to think. I don’t mean mental/emotional pain either. I mean that there is physical discomfort associated with mental movie-making. Numerous times during meditation, I have caught myself feeling an unpleasant pressure or tightness in my neck and head. As soon as I notice it, I’m able to slow down the images in my mind. I kind of breathe through the thoughts and there’s immediate relief. Picture your hand clenching something and then easing up on it—allowing your fingers and hand to relax. It’s possible to do this with the brain as well. I’m averse to the phrase “let it go,” but I once heard a meditation teacher describe it as temporarily putting down something that you’ve picked up (like a stone), which sounds kinder and makes more sense to me.