for me, spaceships and meditation do not mix

As part of the health benefits program overseen by my employers, I can earn basically employer-money “donations” to my health savings account (HSA) by completing certain wellness tasks. The first one that came to my attention this year has a theme of balance, and involves completing 60 minutes of yoga and/or meditation per week for 4 consecutive weeks. This is a good thing for me, since (a) I haven’t exercised in about 6 months and yoga is a great way to get my body moving again in a gentle, gradual way, and (b) I’ve been increasingly stressed since November so meditation isn’t a bad idea either.

I’d done 40 minutes of yoga this week (week one), which left me with 20 minutes to fill. I decided to do a guided meditation, so I hopped on youtube to see what I could find. Now, I don’t know if it’s because I spent my youth in voice and theater training, or because I’m able to attune pretty well and pretty quickly with stillness, but I can drop into a basic meditative pose and state pretty quickly. Shoulders relax immediately, breathing is naturally slow and deep. But when I looked up “20 minute guided meditation” on youtube, I found a lot of crap.

The first one I tried, a chakra-awakening program, told me in the first few minutes that I was now standing at the control panel of my life. That immediately put me in mind of a spaceship and, for me, spaceships and meditation do not mix. I started thinking about the Star Trek theme, about pushing buttons, about bleeping noises and flashing lights and whizzing around among the stars. Space, to me, is adventure; not meditation.

So I tried another one. In this second one, there was no music – not even the sound of crashing waves, which I figured it would have on account of the picture being one of the seashore – and the British-accented guy guiding the meditation sounded uncertain, and then he told me I was doing this for all the people I love and the greater good of the world. Uh…no, you don’t get to tell me why I’m doing this.

So finally I found one that was OK, but she kept making me aware of things that I shouldn’t be paying attention to, that I should allow to slide past. Thing was, those things weren’t in my mind UNTIL SHE MENTIONED THEM.

I feel like I need to make one or two guided meditations and put them up on youtube. Meditations for people who don’t want any bullshit about control panels, or someone else’s assumptions about your reasons, or continued drawing of your attention to things you wouldn’t have noticed if she hadn’t said anything. No-nonsense, no-frills focus on breathing and mindfulness. I would try to impose nothing of myself on the listener, or at least as little as possible, while also being attentive to the listener’s needs and changing mental and physical state over the course of the program.

What do you think? Worth giving it a try?

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