Be present

IMG_2061 by withrow, on Flickr Image  by withrow on flickr

I will never forget the first time I tried to meditate. I was sitting on a hard floor in a stinky gymnasium, hoping to score an easy PE credit so I could graduate from college. A tall, thin man dressed all in white with a long, wispy beard instructed us to cross our legs, close our eyes, breathe deeply and clear our minds.

I was able to cross my legs, but it all went downhill from there.

Clear my mind? What the hell did that mean? Every time I tried to clear my mind, I realized I was just thinking about clearing my mind, which clearly isn’t the same thing. I tried thinking about black. I visualized black. But then I thought about how black isn’t my favorite color; I prefer blue but I can’t decide between sapphire or turquoise… and the next thing I knew, my mind was anything but clear. Also, my butt hurt from sitting on a hard floor, my nose itched, and I wasn’t sure if I should scratch it.

I didn’t try meditation again for almost 20 years.

Carla Naumburg

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