Yesterday was my 13th day of meditating using the Headspace app on my phone. Some days I find it easier than others to stay “focused” on the task of meditating. I would be lying if I said that my mind doesn’t wander constantly (and I know that is normal at the beginning). There have been a few times where I have dozed off a little; but more often than not, I complete the meditation without too much distraction. In the past 13 days I haven’t noticed much of a change in my day-to-day life and thoughts: I am still having a difficult time coping, I am still nauseous/have stomach aches, I am still lacking patience with my kids, etc. However, I have noticed a few subtle changes in what happens while I meditate.
For the first time last week, I was “deep” into the meditation and it suddenly occurred to me that I might have fallen asleep and missed the end of the meditation track. I was pretty sure that I hadn’t fallen asleep because I felt like I was “there” the whole time. Nevertheless, I broke my concentration to look at my phone and I realized it was still playing – and suddenly the man’s voice came back onto the track (there is some coaching mixed with silence in the exercises). When the meditation was over, I reflected on this and realized that maybe it was the first time that I had really gotten into that “clear mind” of meditation, even if it was just for a few seconds. I don’t want to say that it was unnerving, it was just something that I had never experienced before. Since that day, I have noticed it happening more frequently in my meditations.
While I am meditating, the same thoughts that I have constantly throughout the day are still popping into my head. I try to let them pass by without judging them, like the voice on the track instructs me to. I work a little harder to focus on my breathing and try not to be overcome with the thoughts that bombard me every day. Yesterday, however, a thought popped into my head that I have never had before. It wasn’t something that I ever think about. Right before it happened, the voice was telling me to “take note” of what I was feeling, without judging or trying to fix it- just to observe. He tells me this every time I meditate, but this was the first time that a thought or feeling came up that I wasn’t expecting or that I didn’t think about before.
You Aren’t Happy Because You Don’t Want to be Happy
I was caught off guard. As instructed, I took note of this thought without giving it too much attention and I continued with the meditation. When it was over, like always, I followed the instructions to reflect on the meditation and see how I felt – if I had noticed anything different from before the session. Usually I don’t notice too much of a difference. This time was different, however: I couldn’t stop thinking about this thought that popped into my head, completely unexpected and unannounced. As I went to bed last night I thought more about it and realized that it is probably a true and accurate observation of my mood and my attitude.
Right now I don’t want to be happy with my life. I want my old life back. I want to be angry at the world and angry at the forces that brought me here today. I want to be angry at all the people who tell me that it’s normal to feel this way, and the people who tell me that it will get better with time. It’s like I want to stay angry and I never want things to get better because I would rather be able to tell everyone that they are wrong: that my life has been permanently ruined by something that is unjust and unfair. A small part of me wants to fail at my life right now because I think it will make people realize that they “screwed me.” I know this is unhealthy and I know that I’m only hurting myself by having this attitude. It’s interesting, though, that I had never completely realized how I felt about this. My thought was completely accurate: I don’t want to be happy because I want to be angry. I feel like being angry is what will make things better – even though I know deep down that I’m wrong.
I won’t find a solution this right now. I can’t just decide that I’m going to stop wanting to be angry and suddenly want to be happy… and then magically I’ll be happy. I know it is a process, and one that will probably take more time than I want. But, it is interesting that I made this realization (while meditating). Would have ever stumbled across this deep-seeded reality if I didn’t take on this mindfulness practice?
I wonder what today’s meditation will have in store for me…