Lately I’ve been disliking meditation intensely. I’ve been doing it anyway, but I’ve developed a feeling that there is no point to it. No endgame. I’ve been putting off doing it in the morning, trying to squeeze it in later in the day. Come evening, a glass of wine has been far more alluring than sitting down communing with the universal consciousness. A couple of years ago, when I’d been meditating for a few months, this is how it stopped for me. I’d push it back, then skip one, then one day I wouldn’t do it at all, then a week would pass and I’d realise I hadn’t done it at all; then the habit would be gone.
The problem with meditation is that it doesn’t fundamentally change your nature. It’s not going to change you from a pessimistic type to an optimistic Annie, it’s not going to make you one of those enviable extroverts who can chat to all and sundry about anything from cockatoo politicians to the intricacies of your auntie’s bunion operation if you are an introvert who prefers to scurry around the edges rather than trumpet on the stage. It won’t make you one of those calm, velvet-toned sensible people who never raise their voice, if you are by nature volatile and grew up in a shouty family to boot; it won’t make you all scientific and retrain as a (oh Jesus I can’t even think of one scientific job, apart from ‘science teacher’ or ‘brain surgeon’. It’s concerning)… if your jam is looser than that, less pinpointed on reality and more on the nebulous nuances of skipping and soaring words or hazy, haunting pictures.
I have to remind myself sometimes: what does it do? I’ll speak from my experience, not from what teachers have told me it would do for me. It has made me appreciate every small part of life, really note it and appreciate it. Often, that gratitude is there humming in the background even when I am in the midst of a mood or a bad temper or clouty bout of grumpiness. It has made me get out of those moods much quicker, in a matter of minutes sometimes, whereas before I would have chewed on the stinks of life for hours, days, weeks even. In tandem, it has made me pull way back from those same small parts of life to see them from a wider perspective, which makes me feel calmer about what on earth it is I’m doing with my life – fumbling around, hoping for the best it seems, mostly. It has made me much more accepting of myself – specifically, of my ‘bad’ attributes, shitty things I’ve done, appalling things I sometimes think. That means it has helped me to accept the darker sides of my soul and recognise that they are intrinsically human. It is made me write more because I give that ‘You are shit’ voice short shrift now. It has made me see (super corny alert coming up but sorry folks, this is what meditation does for you) that everyone else around me is my brother and sister, walking alongside me, forging their journey however they can, hoping for the same things that I hope for. Love. Acceptance. Security inside their souls. A role in the world, a meaningful purpose for their existence. A sense that their life, in its entirety, is not only a gift to themselves, but a gift to all around them too.
So I guess I will keep meditating. For now, anyway.