It started with The Joy Diet by Martha Beck, which provides you with ten "menu items" for living a joyful life. You're supposed to practice each menu item for a week before moving onto the next one.
Guess what menu item number one is?
Do nothing, for fifteen minutes a day.
In other words, meditate.
I've seen meditation suggested by Jessica Mullen, Gala Darling, Leo Babauta of Zen Habits, Elizabeth Gilbert talks about meditation extensively in Eat, Pray, Love, one of my favorite books, it's suggested by Abraham-Hicks, and of course, in yoga, we're supposed to clear our mind of thoughts during Savasana.
I've been practicing it a little bit, and I mean a little bit. Mostly in yoga. I will try to empty my head of thoughts, but it will fill up again almost immediately. Even if I'm not thinking anything specific, or rolling an idea over and over in my head, or worrying about something or planning something for after class, I'll most likely have a song stuck in my head. (Usually "Down On Me".)
The truth is, meditation is pretty tough. But I know it can get easier if I actually practice it.
The idea of practicing and becoming adept at meditation is appealing to me, because there have been moments when I've attempted to clear my mind that it actually felt empty. Usually this only lasts for a few seconds because then my brain's all like, "OH MAN, I'M DOING IT!!" Which blows the whole thing. But those moments when my head is absolutely empty, where it feels as though my nagging subconscious and emotional hangups have left the building, those moments are extremely freeing. It's a huge relief to get a break from thinking every once in a while.
Leo Babauta did a Zen Habits post a while back about How to Start. In the post, he suggests you make it as easy as possible on yourself to start, and that concept really stood out to me. Fifteen minutes of meditation right off the bat seems overwhelming. So does ten minutes. But five minutes, that seems doable.
So that is my goal for the next week, to spend five minutes a day (no more, even if I think I could do more) practicing meditation. I even found a nice, non-jarring bell for free online that I can set to any interval I like.
I did my first five minutes today and it was not bad at all. Anyone want to try this with me?