Barely Breathing Complications

I am now two weeks into learning more about mindfulness and meditation into my life. I have now completely ditched the Stop, Breathe and Think app and I am solely using the Headspace app for Guided Meditation. I had a bit of a laugh when I was doing more research on the Headspace app and the voice behind it and I learned who was guiding me through my meditations. Andy Puddicombe studied meditation in the Himalayas and eventually became ordained as a Buddhist monk. I didn’t pursue anything beyond the science behind the app for the first week and a half, and solely enjoyed learning and listening to Andy’s voice. I had an image of him in my head. I was so far off!! He has a light English accent, and I pictured an older, white-haired, pleasantly plump gentleman speaking to me through this app. Did I mention that I was WAY off?

Andy Puddicombe presented a TED talk “All it Takes is 10 Mindful Minutes”. I viewed it, and enjoyed learning more.

I have also reached out to human experts. A former co-worker (who used to offer Meditation and Mindfulness sessions at Professional Development sessions – why, oh why didn’t I start then??!) suggested that I re-subscribe to Audio Dharma podcasts – I had tried listening to them in 2013. I found that they have a fantastic resource page where you can find specific talks or even guided meditations to listen to.

My husband’s co-worker is a yoga instructor and takes his practice very seriously. He shared two books with me:

Meditations from the Mat: this book has daily essays to guide you on the road to increased mindfulness

Meditation Inc – Osho – also many related resources available freely online.

I am learning that this is a difficult topic to learn publicly. There are varied resources available for a range of prices and plenty of options to choose from. Sharing out my learning and measuring success is difficult. My brain is still busy. My mind is cluttered. And, what works for me may not work for you. Knowing that I need to reflect on my learning actually intrudes into my meditations in an impactful way. I almost feel the need to take notes as I attempt to meditate so that I would be aware of what I

My meditation journal

My meditation journal

learned, what thoughts intruded, the level of focus I maintained, etc. Another thing that made full relaxation difficult is attempting to document my experience. At first I would pull out my computer and drop in a few notes about my learning. Last week, I began using a mini notebook to jot down some notes. Using my computer lit up my brain, notified me who had posted on our community and how many Twitter notifications needed my attention. It was exactly what I was trying to avoid! Keeping all of my thoughts in a journal added to that sense of reflective relaxation. It was affirming, in its own way. I felt validated as I documented day, date, time, resource used, any new learning, key distractions, and an overview of my focus. It’s not necessarily measurable, but it is a placeholder for growth.

I fell behind in my goal of 5 meditation sessions each week. I still managed to complete hours of research and resource curation, but I have learned that I struggle to focus well when I am sick. My head is foggy and I am exhausted. It saddens me to learn that even going to bed an hour (or more!!) earlier most nights has not resulted in more sleep. 😦

Andy Puddicombe’s advice as you begin using the app is to meditate every day and he suggests starting your day with meditation. I have tried that once, and it was a very productive day. However, I prefer to meditate at night in the hopes of settling my mind before sleep.

This week’s average sleep stats:

January 25 – February 1: 5 hours 45 minutes of sleep

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2 thoughts on “Barely Breathing Complications

  1. Heidi,

    Helpful post.

    I agree that this topic has the potential to be quite personal so I applaud your vulnerability.

    I was shocked by the research that suggests we are lost in thought almost half of our waking time. Like Puddicombe mentioned I find it difficult to find the balance between active and passive meditation. I’m usually the first one to fall asleep during Shavasana. Does that make me weak of mind? 🙂

    I also more than a little disturbed by the suggestion that mind-wandering is directly linked to unhappiness. My mind wanders a lot of late and I’m far from unhappy.

    In the year to come I think I’ll need to draw on these strategies more and more if I’m to successful complete this MEd on time.

    Thanks for sharing and making me smarter!

    Like

    • Dear Christopher,

      Thank you so much for your kind words and sharing your thoughts. It sounds like you are far more experienced in mindfulness than I am and I would love to hear more about your journey.

      I would never consider YOU to be weak of mind!! 🙂 I am still finding my way with active and passive meditation. Since I still need hand-holding and guidance, I think that my work is active, but not what could actually be considered “active” meditation. II think that I am light-years away from being able to meditate in motion!

      I also took a pause when I learned about mind-wandering and unhappiness. I know that when my mind wanders, often it is related to problem-solving, so I do find myself a little unsettled, dissatisfied. However, at other times my mind wanders to happy memories and that brings joy to my day! So, I think that the topic of your “mind-wandering” must be related to the resulting mood or general state of being.

      Thank you for your thoughts and comment.

      Like

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