Five Minutes in the John. Chapter Three: Now What Happens?


Meditation is not a means to an end. It is both the means and the end.                                                   - Jiddu Krishnamurti


Ok, we are sitting. Our tush is on the cush. Now what?

The number one reason we quit meditation is because it does not meet our expectations and we think we are doing it wrong. No one likes feeling incompetent, so we stop sitting. The ONLY way we can fail is if we do not do it. Jimi Hendrix didn’t become a fantastic guitar player by wishing he could play better. He practiced! And that is exactly what we are going to do, just like we are preparing for Woodstock!

How long do we sit?

Start with 15 minutes. At first that will probably end up being 5 minutes settling in, 5 minutes meditating and 5 minutes wondering what time it is. Setting a timer reassures us that if we get lost in space we will not miss picking up the kids. It also keeps us from the distraction of wondering how much time has gone by. Insight Timer is really great app I use, but any timer will do. If you do not need to go anywhere, my suggestion is to let nature take its course; go in and come out naturally. Note your start time so you can be majorly impressed if 20 minutes goes by in a blink.

But what do we do with those pesky thoughts?

Send them to their room!

Please remember - you are not your thoughts. YOU are a witness to those thoughts. The thought-generating organ called a brain pumps out a billion thoughts a day (I rounded up) and most of them are the same ones you had yesterday and will have tomorrow. YOU get to choose where you aim your conscious attention. Yes, you do.

Physiologically speaking, your digestive system digests, your lungs breathe and your brain thinks. You can enter spaces between thoughts that are silent, but it is only for a nanosecond before the brain says. “wow, that’s cool, it was totally silent, did you notice that huh huh didya didya didya?”.

Even though your brain can be super insistent at getting your attention, you can focus beyond the chatter with practice. My grandfather had a favorite chair that looked out onto Main Street’s hustle and bustle. He would sit for hours and watch the cars and people go by. He witnessed them, but he didn’t run out and get into every car driving by. He also didn’t demand that they all stop driving by his house. It is the same with our thoughts. We witness them…there’s one…and another…and another. Sometimes we will go off with one and before we know it our mind is at the grocery store foraging for dinner. No problem. Notice and gently bring your awareness back to your breath, your chair, your big beautiful moment in time.

This is exactly how we practice and you can’t suck at this. It is like training your hair to part of the other side of your head. It needs to be repeatedly combed over, day after day, until the hair starts to lay in that direction. You don’t stop combing after the first day and say your hair just isn’t smart enough to do it.

Keep going.

What else can we expect?

You may remember, as if a floodgate opened, everything you need to do and are afraid you will forget. You want to relax and at the same time find yourself gripping tightly to thoughts. You see the conflict? Keep a pad and pen nearby to jot things down. We are not talking about pages of channeled information or a detailed description of your experience. Simply write a word or two so your monkey mind is reassured you won't forget and leaves you alone for a second or two.

You might get really bored and want to distract yourself. You might feel really wiggly, hungry, thirsty or uncomfortable and want to get up and walk away. Go ahead. Some days are like that. You might fall asleep. It's ok. We want to make this a gentle process that encourages us to continue.

Your mind is amazingly creative at coming up with sophisticated ploys to distract you. Unless you smell smoke, it can wait five minutes.

Remember, there is no goal except to be in the moment with our inner selves, and what a delicious gift that is! Keep going, and it will get easier, and harder and then easier again.

That’s it. 1-2-3!

© 2022 Hillary Gauvreau Oat


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