For the last few days I've been listening to a meditation cd through headphones when I have gone to meditate. It is of heavy rainfall interspersed with chiming bells. I have found my mind wandering just as much as before, even though I'm trying to visualise being back at one of the Buddhist monastaries I visited in Nepal a decade ago. I can picture it, and my wind still wanders.
However, this morning's session was the first where I was disappointed that the half hour allocated had been reached, and though I was struggling to still the mind, I wasn't ready to stop.
And two minutes later Isla wandered into the lounge in her sleepsuit and asked what I was doing. Kids' shows and breakfast, I told her, kids' shows and breakfast.
During the past week while meditating I have a sudden insight that the Dexy steriod I take on chemo day (basically a dull form of speed that will keep me awake until approximately 4am whenever I take it) will also have similar roots in the band name of Dexy's Midnight Runners, that in fact their band name is quite possibly a drug reference.
So l look it up and it is.
Dexy's appears to the be a lovely form of speed used in the late 70s, and Midnight Runners were the lot on the dancefloor going off on it.
Meditation, eh? I'm already smarter and more insightful. I reckon pretty soon I'll just figure out the name Duran Duran too.
Meditation starts something like this: I shall meditate, tomorrow.
When tomorrow comes and is found perching on your knees, you say to yourself 'I shall meditate, tomorrow.'
This continues for dozens of tomorrows until you realised that you shall meditate tomorrow at 2pm. At 3pm the following day, you find yourself meditating. Or sitting in a room on the edge of a chair with your eyes closed, back straight, palms open on your knees for thirty minutes. And those thirty minutes are longer and busier than the entire broken night's sleep that ushered in tomorrow.
I count my breath, in cycles of ten, reset, breathe, count. This is the path I'm taking for mindfulness-based stillness meditation. It is a technique to help stop the mind from wandering through the detritus of its own shallows, to help you focus on nothing but the insistent rhythm of the body.
And I count and breathe...
I'm in the upstairs room of a party, naked on a stranger's bed, I'm 18, and she dresses slowly as a friend of mine sways drunkenly watching after discovering us. I'm processing SQL for complex outer-joins. I'm reformatting a budget spreadsheet to feed into a datamart. I'm working out the scene of next story. Giant space ameoba are attacking minature suns burning in my universe of a liver. I'm counting to three. Reset. I'm thinking thirty minutes must be up now it must be up now it must be four reset.
It's hard to do. It can take up to a month before the mind finally submits and becomes still. It can take a lot longer too.
For people with active cancer, up to three half hour meditations are recommended daily. One session is already happening, finally, no sweat in sitting down and doing it, though the half hour is still hard to do. The second session is approaching slowly from the mists of tomorrow and now has a 7:30am timestamp on it. It has taken more than three weeks for this next step to begin to happen. The third session has a nominal timestamp to it (around Isla's bedtime, just before or after, dinner being a complication), and although it has the timestamp on it, I can't see TOMORROW anywhere on it yet. It's a way off still. A nurse at the chemo lounge has given me a selection of meditation cds to help me submerge, immerse, drown, surf through it all.
I'm getting there.
I can hear my wife telling herself she will meditate tomorrow.