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Bouncing Atoms

So, I was trying to read this morning, but couldn’t keep my mind on the words and was grabbing the computer to head into Facebook, but thought perhaps I should try to quiet my mind and grabbed my phone instead.

I’ve downloaded a couple of cool apps that allow me to set a timer with a woo bell so I can focus my breathing anywhere. (I’m having a really hard time calling it meditating… just seems too woo woo for me right now.) I set the timer and put my hand on my belly and then, for four minutes, I proceeded to not pay attention to my breathing. Instead, my thoughts bounced around like heated atoms in a pan of boiling water.

I kept thinking I wasn’t breathing right. The timer was winding down. Usher the thoughts out gently. No judgment. Why did my son send me an apology? What did he do? Don’t worry… usher the thought out. No judgment. Did he break something? The time is winding down. Breath. Breath. Feel the breath. Breathe deeply. Maybe I should have focused on something instead of my breath. The elephant, maybe. Maybe the origami bird? I need to learn how to focus on my breath though. I do take it with me everywhere. Can’t carry the elephant everywhere. Stop thinking! Usher the thoughts out. Shove the damn things out. Out, thoughts! Is the bell going to ring? I’m spending four minutes without being mindful. I’m going to have to do this all over again.

The woo bell chimes.

For crying in a bucket. That sucked. 

My meditation elephant.

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Reader Comments (11)

Bouncing atoms = high energy levels which means you are near the energy potential to achieve and produce new chemical synthesis.

In other words, you need to not waste time meditating but utilizing that energy to achieve an otherwise unachievable goal. Like climb a mountain.

November 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEthel

If Sam Harris does it, it can't be woo, right?

From my experience with meditation, it is more about trying to focus than succeeding at it. Diligently attempting to focus IS meditating. As long as you sit down and earnestly try, you are succeeding. It gets easier the more you do it.

November 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

Ethel: Hardly "wasting time meditating." I'm working my ass off to dig myself out of depression.

And it's clear you don't know me at all if you'd suggest I go climb a mountain. You might as well have said to fly myself to the moon! I have arthritic feet that are carrying too close to 300 pounds around. Mountain climbing will have to wait until my next incarnation.

Until then, I'm working on meditating. Thanks for the advice anyway.

November 27, 2011 | Registered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

I wrote this this morning after my (obviously) frustrating session of intended focus. Awhile ago, I focused again and had a much easier time. When I was done, I explained to Zack there shouldn't be any qualifying or quantifying the different sessions, that the goal was to HAVE a session at all and the rest was moot. But (I said), if I WAS going to judge the two, this second one today was much more productive breathing-wise.

But, I'm not gauging things that way. Uh... trying not to. laughing

November 27, 2011 | Registered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

I'm totally sympathetic. I'm not good at mindfulness. I feel silly and self-conscious trying to meditate—judging myself that I'm not doing it "right." And trying to turn inwards to the mess of thoughts that landed my ass in therapy in the first place? No, thanks.

I'll make you a deal. We can be woo together, and then at least we'll be in good company. :)

November 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKristen

Kristen: laughing I am right there with you, stewing around in my mental illness while "looking inward." (NOT that you have mental illness... didn't mean that!)

If there wasn't real science behind it, I wouldn't be so gung ho about "working the program."

And it's HILARIOUS! The first instinct was to try and convince you how great it is! Even when I don't believe it (yet)!!! Interesting noting how I want you to agree with me even as you just told me you didn't like it. Oh, goddess... please don't let me catch this like a religion. You have my permission to smack me silly, Kristen, if I do get all evangelical on the blog. laughing

November 28, 2011 | Registered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

You totally sound like me during the peaceful relaxation part of yoga. The teacher instructs us to let go of all conscious thought. I take a deep breath in and then my thoughts anxiously spiral as I realizing that I'm still thinking! After a couple of years, I've realized that I lack the ability to stop thinking, so I just let my thoughts wander as they will. Now I tend more to be quietly amused during relaxation time. :)

November 28, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteralittlebitograce

I remember taking a meditation class once. My sessions went much like your first one. The other students kept coming in reporting seeing images of rivers, jewels, beautiful princesses/handsome princes. I felt awful. I talked to the teacher and asked why they were getting all these glowing affirmations and I was learning that my back hurt in certain positions. The teacher looked at me, aghast. "You don't really BELIEVE all that BS they're saying do you??" The teacher then said I wasn't "doing it wrong," just keep on.

November 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTerri C

Meditation can be hard work, I've heard of "training your attention" ie meditation compared to house breaking a puppy! You gently bring the attention back to the breath as you would bring a puppy back to a newspaper and you do this over and over again patiently.

You don't kick or beat the puppy and you don't judge yourself for letting your mind wander! When I find my attention wandering I smile at the thought of my inner puppy needing to be put back on the newspaper. It's a fun analogy that inspires me to keep trying.

December 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterOubli

LOVE that analogy! Perfect... from the mama of two "puppies." Thanks so much for that. Brilliant.

December 6, 2011 | Registered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

To quote a certain science fiction author, "Don't just do something, sit there!" In another of his novels, two of his characters discuss meditation, one being reluctant to try it. Ultimately, it is an agreement to sit and to breathe.

Spider Robinson had it spot-on. He never showed it was easy in any of his novels, but that it was worth doing and worthwhile in the longer run. He never mentions how to cope with cats walking into the lap insisting on attention just when you think you've really let something go. Substitute toddlers for cats as appropriate...

December 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFreyjaW

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