Sometimes I need a reminder for why meditation is beneficial. I mean, to be honest, sometimes meditation is so boring. My sessions lately are only 10 minutes long and my mind is wandering all over the place still, from Viggo Mortensen’s greying beard to the box of chocolates I should get the nursing staff. And when I’m just “not in the mood” to meditate and feeling hostile to those lost 10 minutes, all of the scientific research into the benefits of meditation and mindfulness suddenly become a hard sell.
So I’m grateful for and humbled by the shitty morning I had.
Basically, the first half of the day sucked. I woke up every few hours last night (for various reasons) and after a broken 4.5 hours of rest, I sat up wide awake because of a shooting pain down my left arm. There was a dull numbness down to my forearm and the fingers felt stiff and broken, almost like I had sprained them in the middle of the night somehow. Apparently, this is what carpal tunnel is! Since I decided I was in too much pain to make a proper breakfast, I had a protein bar, nilla cookies, and frozen potatoes…and then felt cranky that breakfast was so unhealthy. And while icing my hand and picking at my potatoes, I let myself sink into this familiar panic: how am I supposed to do my work if I can’t use my left hand? What if tomorrow my right hand goes too?? What is going to happen to my dissertation when I’m already so behind?!
This went on and on until 1:30pm. Yes, I freaked out, had a moment of panic, and was sulking in self pity for that long.
But then, I caught myself. I began to think…about how I was thinking. And a few things became clear…
1. Why am I letting my thoughts run away like that? Let’s focus on the here and now. In the here and now, no one knows what is going on so I can’t pre-emptively decide that all is doomed.
2. There isn’t anything I can do about the pain right now, sure. But I can choose how I want to react to it. There is no point to be cranky about it because crankiness won’t fix it. I can choose to be proactive by treating it properly, with the consultation of a doctor, and take it day by day. And in any case, there are lots of things I can do without the use of my left hand today.
PSsssshhhheeewwwwwww – like all the hot air going out of my body. That ability to pause, observe my own thoughts, and calmly lead myself back to the present? That is all thanks to meditation.
And the rest of the day was good. I did work, ran errands, tidied up. It might seem ridiculous to some people, but it felt like a satisfying notch in my path towards emotional maturity and calm.