by Anna Peterson Macsalka
“I don’t meditate because I’m not good at it.” I’ve heard this countless times and my reply is always, “the reason I meditate is because I’m not good at it.” I’m the type of person that thinks and feels very intensely. It’s sometimes referred to as monkey brain and is often a result of multi-tasking and not addressing stress levels in a healthy way. I would say that the majority of my energy meditating is spent bringing my focus back after it has gone astray. This takes a lot of acceptance and practice—Every. Single. Time.
Still, there are moments when I find judgments trickle in. That tiny voice that announces this is yet another failure! Ugh. But something David Kessler said on Brené Brown’s Unlocking Us podcast caught my attention, “judgment demands punishment”. Why are we demanding punishment for a crime we aren’t committing? Our experiences are challenging enough, we don’t need to penalize ourselves for being human. Can we be a little more gentle and embrace the difference between self-awareness and self-judgement? Can every moment spent meditating be a win? Because it is.
While meditating, I prefer to offer my thoughts a nice chair in the corner and a cup of tea and politely ask them to stay seated and quiet for the duration. I don’t banish them with hatred and disdain because that only seems to inflame them more. I think back to when my spirited daughter transitioned to a toddler bed from her crib. Every night she’d get up and pad to our room and every night we’d take her by the hand and gently lead her back to her bed. Repetition was key. Now, she feels safe and comfortable staying in her bed through the night. But it certainly took time—and patience. Time and patience. Can we offer that to ourselves during meditation and in life?