So I’m sitting up straight, eyes closed, bare feet flat on the floor, breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth. Over and over again. My thoughts are like wild monkeys swinging from branch to branch of a very large tree. I’m told to let go of each thought and refocus on my breathing. Another breath, another monkey. Back to the breath. And there’s another monkey. This goes on for quite a while, and then I’m instructed to slowly open my eyes. Simple as that, I’m meditating. Actually I’m in a meditation class.
I spend so much time “doing.” This is a time for just “being.” How did I get here? I was going through some of Sandy’s belongings last month, and I found a business card for the meditation class instructor. And I thought why not. Isn’t this what widowers in their fifties are supposed to do? Take classes? Actually, I’ve been meditating on and off for nearly 30 years. I’m here to learn more.
Breathing is the most fundamental of our body’s systems. It just happens. We rarely think about it. The rhythmic rising and falling of the diaphragm is a constant I can tap into.
When I’m frustrated with traffic, when I’m upset with something at work, when I’m hit with a wave of grief—I can refocus. If my thoughts are dwelling on the past or I’m apprehensive about the future, focusing on my breath brings me back to the present moment. This breath.
No, I can’t empty my mind of all thoughts, but with practice and instruction I can thin my gaggle of wild monkeys… except that pesky one that keeps popping back into my consciousness, reminding me I’m actually paying to sit and do nothing. Ah, back to the breath.