How to sleep (or what some people call meditate)

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Recently I’ve taken up meditation as a kind of relaxation/chill out/distraction from daily life technique. So everyday I get out the candles and the incense and put on a YouTube track called something ridiculous like “Namaste: Meditation Blessing Music for Positive Thoughts embracing the Flow of Energy”. This was my mother’s idea as being her hippie self she believes it is necessary to take some time out of each day to just think about nothing.

But herein lies the problem with meditation – how on earth are you meant to think about nothing? I have so far found meditating to be an extremely complex multitasking effort of sitting still in some form of Buddha like position, breathing evenly, saying peace every time you breathe out, making sure you are aware of the present, and doing all this whilst NOT THINKING. I probably spend the majority of my meditation worrying about the fact that I’m thinking about not thinking which most likely defeats the point of the practice entirely.

In my experience clearing my mind of petty thoughts is a lot easier if I picture a peaceful scene, for example a beautiful beach, a picturesque countryside location, or, the sky. But then I find myself thinking, does this count as thinking? If I have in my mind imagined a picture surely I have not cleared my mind at all but used my mind to create a scene thereby distracting me from my thoughts. And then some part of my imaginary scene triggers a random thought and I’m back to the whole “oh no, I’m thinking, shush mind” fiasco.

It’s now come to the point where I’ve accepted that my mind does not like to be blank so instead of “meditation” in the formal sense of the word I’ve chosen to rebrand my practice “half-asleep time”. I still get out the candles and sleep music and try and relax my frantic thoughts enough that I come to that state just before you fall asleep. I have nodded off a few times but I’m sure that is to be expected. Being half asleep seems to be the only time my mind finally clears itself [kind of].

Whatever kind of meditation I end up doing, I’m pretty sure that taking time out of my busy life to relax has to be good. It may not be meditation by monk definition but at least I’m trying. And if I end up sleeping, hey, it must just be my mind telling my body that its time for a nap.

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