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Meditate On This

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Clear your mind. And stop that giggling.

Posted June 17, 2011



I can’t meditate. I’ve taken workshops and read books. I’ve even stalked people who were wearing yoga pants to see if a little of their calming spirit would rub off on me. Unfortunately, even peacefully minded people get a little agitated if you slide into their passenger seat and start peppering them with questions about their aura.

In my quest for nirvana (the state of mind, not the band), I’ve filled my house with accessories meant to help me get into the mood. Sitting in the middle of my kitchen table is a wind chime that was crafted to evoke a peaceful mind and body. Unfortunately, the chimes are buried under bills, the leaves from the ficus I keep forgetting to water, winter scarves I haven’t gotten around to putting away yet, half-eaten dog toys with missing squeakers, and notes to myself to organize and de-clutter. On a nearby shelf hangs a small gong I bought to signal the beginning and end of my meditation exercises. Unfortunately, every time I strike it, the dogs bark and run to the windows thinking we have guests who could possibly have cookies or maybe a squirrel in their pockets.

In my guest bedroom is a miniature Zen sand garden complete with tiny rake. The act of raking the sand around the rocks is supposed to help relieve stress and release worries. I’ve only used it once and afterward, I had to vacuum sand out of the carpet for days. I’m hoping my guests have better luck, although one recently left a note saying the sand trap was a nice touch but she couldn’t find a miniature golf club to hit her ball out.

My home office is adorned with a lovely framed reminder that all I need to do today is breathe in and breathe out. As you undoubtedly know, breathing is important in meditation. I’ve also found that it is important in staying alive. The problem is that when I become aware of my breathing—as meditation instructors tell us to do—it makes me a little paranoid. I start worrying about my poor brain and how it has to remember to tell my lungs to inhale and exhale every couple of seconds. What if it forgets for a few hours? What if I’m trying to remember the name of a friend or where I left my keys and my brain becomes overwhelmed and just shuts down? Needless to say, this kind of thinking is not conducive to feeing at peace with the universe. Or even with my own body parts.

And forget clearing my mind. Whenever I try, my brain becomes a pan of Jiffy Pop popcorn. One kernel of a thought becomes seven, which heats things up and then there are dozens, then hundreds, until finally my brain is about to explode out of its aluminum foil wrapper. I’m supposed to be focusing on being and nothingness, not wondering if I should use Facebook to look up the boy I stole a potholder loop from in the third grade so I can apologize. Instead of living in the moment, I end up reliving my entire life, with particular emphasis on the 60s and 70s.

I also tend to giggle at the word Kundalini. I just can’t help myself.

Instead of meditating (or medicating), I’m practicing my own form of centering—I laugh myself silly until I’m completely out of breath and my sides ache. Suddenly, magically, all my troubles melt away. And when I need a mantra, I just giggle "Kundalini." It works like a charm.

Leigh Anne Jasheway is a motivational speaker and stand-up comic who speaks at 40-60 conferences and workshops and performs at more than 30 shows a year. To date, more than one-quarter million people have seen her presentations. She has a masters degree in public health, is an expert in stress management, and has 15 published books. Leigh Anne has won numerous writing awards, including the 2003 Erma Bombeck Humor Writing Competition. Her website is AccidentalComic.com.

 

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