The Meditation Situation

If there was a way to peer inside my brain, I’m pretty sure it would look like a scene from a cartoon with the mouse chasing the cat in endless circles. I know I’m not alone. When I see a friend in the grocery store and quickly pause for a conversation, there’s always a deep breath, a sigh and a “you know how it is!” reply spoken in true exasperation. 

I’ve dedicated this month to creating intentional habits to support my mental health. I’m creating daily blogs that perhaps only my mother will read, but it’s my own little way of holding myself accountable. I think one of the biggest pieces I’m missing is a true meditation habit. 

I have read enough to know that mediation has a powerful impact on one’s mood, mental health, and general outlook on life. I have friends who report life-changing impacts after committing to a regular meditation practice. I’ll be honest that I don’t really know what I’m doing when I meditate. I have the “Calm” app (which I love) but I usually hit play on a 10 minute guided meditation and that’s it. I appreciate the guidance and soothing voices, but if I can’t make this habit stick, what am I doing wrong?

Penn Wanted In Too

I was shocked when Penn said he wanted to join me for a meditation session. I’ve suggested he try to meditate over the years but he never expressed any interest. He’s busy, and with ADHD, his brain is even busier. We’ve both been feeling on edge lately, and like me, he was desperate for any way to help quiet the noise in his head.

We reached out to Susan Lee, owner of Body & Brain, Yoga and Tai Chi in our hometown. She leads meditation classes in her studio and online. She practices Jigam meditation, or “energy meditation”. This practice is an ancient Korean form of meditation that works to connect the mind and body. We learned so much from the session that we published the interview and mediation session in podcast form. The links to listen are below. 

How Does This Actually Work?

With work, kids, and electronic alerts all day long, our thoughts are so incredibly scattered. I was always under the impression I had to “clear my mind” and create some sort of mental white padded room in my thoughts. Lee explained that’s not the goal! (Thank goodness.)

We worked on connecting our mind and body. Our thoughts are always going to be scattered, being focused on “the now” is going to create a more calm feeling. She explains, being focused on the past creates depression, being focused on the future creates anxiety.  

She said, “By staying in the here and now we learn to be present and then all that stuff that’s coming at you from the outside doesn’t bother you as much… So many of us think of meditation as  ‘I need to stop thinking!” It’s almost impossible. Your brain is constantly going.”

Making It Stick

This Jigam meditation uses east Asian energy principles in combination with modern neuroscience. We left the session more calm, centered, and bizarrely energized. I’ve actually re-listened to our session to help kickstart the meditation habit, once again. 

I’ve made a promise to myself to make my mental health a priority and document it here in a daily blog this month. I’m now writing here publicly that daily meditation is the first thing on my “to do” list for the next three weeks, and hopefully beyond. 

You can listen to our interview with Susan Lee on this week’s podcast at any of the links below: