Meditation and Time

By Devin Dyer

I’ve tried meditating a few times in my life, with varying success. I think it was JJ in class on Thursday that talked about meditating and it made me want to try it again. When I got to my apartment, nobody was home, it was the perfect time. So, I went to my room, took a seat at my desk and started up my headspace app. On the app they give you ten starting meditations to do for ten days, to acclimate you to the habit of meditation. I was on day five and had been for somewhere around 200 days. Something about that made me feel guilty, like I was lying to the nice British voice that supportively told me the right things to do. But anyway, I chose the ten minute meditation, put on my headphones, and started the session.

That day’s meditation was all about the lack of effort. How to relax without “trying.” Before I could get into the session in earnest I was treated to an animation that compared meditation to falling asleep; the harder you try to do it the harder it is to succeed, and the second you stop trying, you’ll succeed. So I resolved to do it, I would try not to try. Semantics aside it’s pretty difficult not to try. At first, I found myself lamenting about the ten minutes of absolutely nothing. I’m typically stimulated from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to bed. I listen to music most times I walk anywhere, I take my phone into the bathroom, I watch TV when I make my bed. To just take ten minutes to do absolutely nothing, to put nothing in front of my face, and nothing in my ears just felt… wrong. Normally, I’m like an old man. I like to talk about how bad phones are for people, complain about the constant need to document your every action, meal, and thought, and I find a distinct, smug pleasure when I get to tell someone I don’t have an Instagram. I’m out of the loop, and I’m kind of proud of that fact. But then, sitting with my eyes closed and listening to nothing but the sounds of the city, I realize I’m completely in the loop, albeit a different loop from some. I still bombard myself with stimulation—multiple forms of media at almost all times. When I realize this, I start to understand more clearly why I’m even meditating in the first place. I need to let my mind rest just as I do my body. A reorientation occurs upon the completion of this line of thought and I shift into the proper headspace. I start actually meditating.

Once it gets going, there’s something really glorious about it. I feel at once acutely aware of my body as well as forgetful of it. It feels different. As the meditation really starts going my body feels different. My hands feel like they’re a mile away from my head. I feel not like I’m floating through space, but like I’m sitting in it, like my body is simply an extension of the air around me or the floor beneath me. And it feels great. I lose my sense of time completely, I was adrift in it. I couldn’t remember when I started, where I had to be in an hour, all of those things were just details. But then I started to think normally again, and not in a good way. I started dreading the time that I would open my eyes and the meditation would be over. I knew it must be soon, ten minutes really isn’t that long; anything that takes ten minutes is close to being over the second it starts. Ten minutes is nothing, but when I started out it felt like everything.

When the time actually comes to open my eyes again it is surreal. My body comes back into focus in the way I recognized it before. The space all around me rushes back up from the void it temporarily resided in and my room is once again my room. If I didn’t set out with the ten minute goal in mind, I probably would have no idea how long I was in that little trance. It was wonderful. It felt like I stepped out of time for a moment, or a non-moment, it’s hard to tell which. I eagerly awaited my next session, something I tried today, to no avail however, as my roommates were blasting I’m Blue, that horribly infectious song (I’m blue da boo dee da boo die da boo dee da boo die). Some days I can do it, and do it well, other days I can’t. Some days I just try too hard, or maybe not enough. But, I plan to keep trying.

If anyone is thinking about meditating after reading this, try the headspace app. It’s really awesome and easy, I couldn’t recommend it any higher.