I am someone who has trouble sitting still for long periods of time, am easily distracted and amused, and worst of all I come down with a terrible case of the giggles at the most inappropriate times. Seeing as I had been feeling anxious and antsy all week so I figured I had nothing to lose.
This isn’t my first attempt at meditation, but it is my first meditation class/session. This was the first time I managed to sit still and remain in a peaceful and clear state of mind for more than 2 minutes without a guided meditation (either that or I think I fell asleep for a bit).
Before the class
I had some questions had before going into the class and figured I couldn’t be the only one wondering so here they are + the answers!
Do you have to be buddhist/religious?
Nope. There are mentions of teachings based on certain teachers but in the end there is no need or pressure for you to be religious.
What happens in a meditation session?
Not every meditation session is the same but they involve at least some of these parts: guided meditation, walking meditation, silent meditation, a break, stretching/movement based meditation, and readings/discussion.
What to wear to a meditation class?
Anything you would feel comfortable sitting/walking in for 30 – 60 minutes. Most people come in athletic wear (leggings, basketball shorts etc.) and loose casual wear.
What happens if I want to leave?
No one cares as long as you are quiet. I waited for a designated break time to leave, but if you were to leave quietly during the meditation no one would do or say anything. After all, everyone’s focused on themselves.
What if I’m running late?
There were people in my session who came in late, but they were so quiet I barely noticed, but I did see that it interrupted some of the other people’s focus (yes my mind wandered haha). This might not be the norm for all classes so I would give the organizers a quick ring to double-check just in case!
My tummy gets grumbly and my joints crack, how embarrassing! Should I still go?
Yes! Gurgly tummies and joints that crack are actually pretty normal so other people also had grumbly tummies and cracking joints. I was probably one of the very few who noticed. No one else cared.
I don’t really know how to meditate. Does it matter? What should I focus on?
Make sure the meditation class is right for you! I went to one where no experience was necessary!
1. your breathing – count each in-out cycle of your breath as 1, up to 10 or 15 and then repeat. It doesn’t matter if you lose count, just keep doing it.
2. feeling grounded – feel connected to the earth and aware of you.
How did I do?
I made it through a 20 minute guided meditation, 15 minute walking meditation, and a 20 minute silent sitting meditation. 🙌🏼 Woo! Then I got really hungry and wanted to leave.
The guided meditation was simple enough, but the only issue was that I had a tiny case of the nervous giggles. I just focused on my breathing and listened to the guided meditation.
The walking meditation was surprisingly the hardest for me. I took a step for each in-breath and each out-breath. It was excruciatingly slow. There was no cutsies/sneaky overtaking in this walk. We walked in single file around a medium-sized room. I made exactly 1 lap of the room. 1 lap in 15 whole minutes.
During the silent sitting meditation I found that my mind wandered like crazy. I basically had a good mental chat with myself and thought about all sorts of stuff like my grocery list, to-do list, and what to have for dinner and dessert (it was actually really interesting). Luckily, this is supposed to be normal – it’s all part of the process. Once I got into the groove of counting my breathing everything got really calm, my anxiety and jitters melted away. The 20 minutes went by the fastest surprisingly.
I left during the break and before I left I contributed some money for the class. It’s totally optional so no pressure. I found that the session helped a lot and I appreciated the time, effort, and knowledge the organizers and meditation leader gave.
I definitely would say to give meditation a go! Start at home for 5 minutes with no distractions and just focus on breathing.
*** I feel it’s important to note that meditation isn’t a magical quick cure-all. It can play a wonderful part in your search for physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual clarity/awareness, however meditation alone won’t rid you of suffering (self-inflicted or not). If you feel that you are struggling and need help, please talk to someone who is qualified to give you all the help you need and deserve. This does not mean ‘don’t practice meditation’, but just make sure you don’t dismiss your feelings.
Have you tried meditation? Would you? Let me know!