meditating is like flossing your teeth

Flossing

I dislike anything to do with dentists. That’s dentists, hygienists, dental chairs, that swirly thing you spit in. All of the sounds. But after three back-to-back pregnancies and their affect on my teeth, I am vigilant about getting my teeth cleaned.

Yesterday, as I lay back in the chair getting them scaled and polished, a rhythmic mantra pecked around in my head, ricocheting to the scrape and tap of those sinister metal tools. It went like this: ‘Yep, this sucks. I hate this. Wow, this, I hate this. There is nothing pleasant about this.’ Repetitive, unhelpful and relentless, this cheery ditty droned on and on until the hygienist had finished.

Meditation can be like this.

I don’t skip down to it wearing a floaty silk kaftan, my obedient neurons all set to be plugged in to the universe. Often, I sit there and think: ‘Yep, this sucks. I hate this. Wow, this, I hate this. There is nothing pleasant about this.’ But I do it every day, and I don’t think much about the action itself anymore, otherwise it wouldn’t get done.

I leave the dentist with teeth that are cleaner, shinier. Whiter. And each time I finish meditating, I know that some cleaning has taken place, too. However unremarkable – like the absent-minded sweeping of fallen leaves – or monumental, like the grunting, sweaty pull of a gnarl of poison ivy, my brain feels different after I meditate.

Cleaner, shinier. Whiter. Ready to flash its new-found freshness onto the world.

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