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What I really think about when I'm meditating

PUBLISHED: 09:40 04 February 2019

Learn the basics of meditation in one morning at the Amoghasiddhi Kadampa Buddhist Centre, Queens Square, Attleborough. Picture by Kelsang Rinzing.

Learn the basics of meditation in one morning at the Amoghasiddhi Kadampa Buddhist Centre, Queens Square, Attleborough. Picture by Kelsang Rinzing.

Copyright 2010 Kelsang Rinzing

Stacia Briggs says meditation is a really great way to improve your wellbeing, heart health and blood pressure. It's also a lovely chunk of time to spend feeling furious, anxious, uncomfortable or hungry without distraction

For once, I’m ahead of the curve: research this week shows that meditation has a positive effect on heart health and blood pressure and can also improve the feeling of overall happiness and wellbeing – I have been meditating every day for YEARS so am officially on the motorway to enlightenment.

While I lap up all the research about how meditation can help make you happier/thinner/brainier/productive/creative/able to bend spoons from 1,000 paces, the reason I actually do it is because it gives me a 20-minute excuse to look considerably more “mindful” and “spiritual” than I actually am. This is how Russell Brand started out: the next thing you know I’ll be refusing to change nappies and telling everyone not to vote.

If I’m lucky, I emerge from a meditation session feeling refreshed and energised (this is rare), if it’s just a normal session I will emerge feeling somewhat disorientated and hungry (see 5) and possibly angry (2) anxious (2, 4, 6,7) or smug (1).

But it’s become a habit, a bit like peeling off my nail varnish with my teeth or leaving all the green sweets in a packet, and I suppose as habits go, it’s one of my least revolting. But is it making me a better, healthier person? The jury is out. Here’s what I really think about when I’m meditating when if I was doing it right, I wouldn’t be thinking about anything at all.

1) That I am really good at meditating: Sometimes, when I have been meditating for while and realise that I’ve actually been, you know, IN THE ZONE, I find myself thinking about how brilliant I am at meditating, which just goes to prove that I am not brilliant at meditating. I am also unsure as to whether it is in the spirit of meditation to be smug and overly-pleased with oneself (I am not unsure: I know the answer, it is not in the spirit of meditation).

2) How uncomfortable I am: You’d think that a healthy activity that involves simply sitting down and doing nothing wouldn’t mean any perceptible levels of discomfort, but you would be wrong. It might be a bit cold. My foot might itch. I might sit on my foot by mistake and cut off the circulation. It’s practically an extreme sport.

3) Whether I turned the tumble drier off: I think about this A LOT. The tumble drier has become the whipping boy for all my free-floating anxiety and has almost overcome Brexit as the thing I am currently worrying about most. I can, however, control the tumble drier in a way that I feel unqualified to with Brexit – I feel I might struggle a bit if asked to secure concessions with Brussels on complex issues such as customs and the single market without a hard border in Ireland while when it comes to the tumble drier, I can just switch it off.

4) What should I have for breakfast/lunch/dinner/a snack: There’s never a bad time for meal planning.

5) What a cluster of chaos Brexit is: Only if I know the tumble drier is switched off.

6) What I would do if I was on the TV show ‘Hunted’: Mainly, I would fail, very swiftly. But in the hour before I am found by the authorities, I need a plan.

7) All the things I have to be angry about: This is, in truth, probably my favourite thing to do while meditating, which is to silently seethe about all manner of things and plot intricate methods of revenge and scenarios where I triumph above everything and everyone. This may, or may not, involve the ancient Spider-Goddess Uttu coming to me in a harrowing, blood-soaked vision and offering me, in exchange for perpetual servitude as her handmaiden, the opportunity to commit revenge without detection. I believe this may not be in the spirit of meditation either.

8) When will this meditation session be over? I think I should rethink mindfulness, probably.

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