I spent part of this morning ripping guided meditation tracks off their CD’s and onto my computer. Being able to mix and match sections would be useful. …And keep me from leaping up to throttle the CD player after listening to the EXACT SAME RECORDING every day for two months. Plus, iPods are harder to get a solid grip on to throttle.
Some of the recordings are from the course that I took last summer, and some are basically the same thing except made by the original guy rather than my personal instructor. A couple are odds and ends that I picked up before I really knew anything about meditation other than that
1) I should.
2) It makes people’s bodily secretions smell like patchouli.
I do not yet smell like patchouli. I think this means I am not trying hard enough.
At any rate, as I was typing in track information, I realized that the creator of one of my CD’s is Mr. Bright-Fey. John Bright…Fey. If that isn’t a last name destined for a meditation teacher, I don’t know what is. I Googled him on the chance that I could find out whether that was indeed his birth name before reporting it here, but I couldn’t find mention. Presumably if he had changed it himself his first name might have been Moonbeam rather than John. Still, very appropriate. On the disturbing side, I also came across a photo of him. I do not like getting a visual image of the owners of the smooth audio voices that are giving me my meditation instructions. Never seems to line up. I don’t know what I would expect a smooth meditation voice owner to look like, but it isn’t this.
(That’s my actual posse, folks)
As traumatic (though slightly less fascinating) as the time I got a peek at the movie preview voice guys, I assure you.
I guess it could be worse. When I did that search for my lady-teacher, I also came up with these:
I think I’m going to imagine that cat narrating all of my meditation CD’s from now on.
I’m proud of myself for sticking with the meditation again so far. There are some days that it hasn’t been easy (and truth be told, I’ve missed some sessions this time around, but I’m doing much more than I’m not doing so I’m trying not to beat myself up too much about it). It will be worth it in the end, though, if it can do what it seemed to do last time. The tough part is that the big benefits didn’t really kick in for me last time until almost the end of two months of consistent meditation. …Which is pretty much what you’re supposed to expect, but still. Makes it tough to keep doing it day in and day out in the moment. The payoff was huge for getting there, though.
Mindfulness meditation sort of fascinates me now. I’ve read a lot on the brain since starting this journey, and so it makes a certain amount of sense how you would have to practice very consistently over an extended period of time at the start, and how there would be actual physical changes to the brain as a result (I find that whole concept totally cool. Recent research says you can actually learn to do almost ANYTHING with enough practice. …Like Rain Man type stuff, and getting rid of learning disabilities, and rewiring your brain to use more sections for particular skills or movements, or using the bits meant for one thing to do something entirely different if it needs to and everything. Neat! You can even wire it so that you are incapable of moving certain fingers except as a unit. Like they were glued together. But they’re not. …Why one would do that last one on purpose I don’t know, but it’s still pretty cool). What’s really weird is the type of changes that were most dramatic. I expected it would help me relax. Which it did sort of, maybe, I guess? What it really did was prevent me from reacting in the first place to things that would once have been stressful, and help me not give a flying tiger what other people thought of me. And I am someone who is normally PAINFULLY aware of what other people might be thinking of me. It was very cool. Liberating. And it makes me wonder what other beneficial brain changes I could make if I only knew how and was actually willing to invest that much time in it.
I had a lot of impressions going in about meditation that were totally wrong. I sometimes still have to fight the feeling that I’m not always “good” at it. You’re not supposed to hang onto judgments like “good” and “bad” but just observe what happens. And any outcome or happenings during the process are supposed to be fine as long as you notice what they are. And I acknowledge that you’re not actually supposed to try to stop thinking (because that’s pretty much impossible no matter how zen you are), but just note the thoughts that come up and try to let them go freely rather than clinging on and following them. And they do say that the more thoughts come up, the more chance you have to practice bringing your mind back to whatever it is you’re trying to focus on. Which is really the important part. It’s counter-intuitive, though. We’re so conditioned to want Success. And we want Success to be measurable, and require significant effort, and come paired with the potential for Failure.
Interestingly, from what I’ve read about the brain changing stuff, the most change happens when you’re paying close attention, and when you’re trying. Not succeeding, but trying. If you’ve already mastered something, then you’re probably not paying close enough attention to it anymore to make changes. So actually mastering the task is irrelevant to the goal.
Which is kind of cool all on its own.
Okay. Finished rambling now. But BRAIN CHANGES, people! I could learn to play piano with my face.