Meditate on this!

I close my eyes and slow my breathing. I’m trying to be in the moment, but I can’t stop wondering if I’m following the directions the way I had learned. I can’t get rid of the worry that I’m doing it wrong. I’m full of questions. What should I be thinking about, should I let my mind wander or focus on one or two things? What happens if I fall asleep? Where should my hands go? Questions, questions, questions.

For the life of me I can’t remember the last time I worried about where or what I should be doing with my hands. I’m a grown ass man for Pete’s sake, now it’s the most important question in the world to me. I’m sitting with my feet crossed, trying to meditate for the first time, and I’m a mess. 

“When you can laugh at yourself, no one can ever make a fool of you.”

—Joan Rivers

Choking myself

I close my eyes again, hold my hands up, palms out, and lower them to try to visibly calm and center myself, and try a deep breathing exercise that I used to practice when I ran my first marathon. I take-in a deep breath and let it out in slow steady stages. Of course, I’m new at this so I choke and cough up a huge invisible chunk of air. Of course, my mind starts up again: Is it possible to kill yourself by holding in your breath? Okay, okay, I go back to breathing normal. Before I move on though, I make a mental note to start running and exercising again, it’s been too long of a break and I need to pick it back up. 

Oh, damn it I say to myself, I’m running down another $@&!% rabbit hole. I open my eyes once again and shout to Alexa to play some some soft, relaxing instrumental music. I close my eyes and readjust my position on my bed. I’m home alone. I wonder if all the great meditation gurus and coaches started out like this, yelling at themselves on their bed. 

“I used to take myself very seriously, now it’s all just funny. You gotta laugh at yourself. You know, most of the time when something’s a big deal for us, it’s only become a big deal in the space between our ears.”

—Gillian Anderson

Jamming to the tunes

I’m zoned into the music, I’m thinking that I might be onto something. However, I really like a particular string portion of the song. Is this Yo Yo Ma? I sit for a few minutes more and realize that my fingers are tapping my stomach, keeping time to the music. Ugh, I groan. I’m supposed to be relaxed, but instead, I’m more keyed up than when I started. This is not how I envisioned my first attempt at meditation going.

I open my eyes again. I loosen my collar because I’m starting to get hot and beads of sweat have formed on my neck. Yea, I’m really relaxed. I put my hands up to calm myself again for the millionth time in the past 20 minutes. I knew this would be a learning experience. I planned for this, right? I turn on my phone and log in to an app and hit play on piece of audio from a meditation coach that a blogger friend had recommended.

“To make mistakes is human; to stumble is commonplace; to be able to laugh at yourself is maturity.”

—William Arthur Ward

Following good advice

I tend to be a Type A personality. You know the type, I’m constantly focused on the next goal or achievement, the next big thing, but several friends swear by meditation. God knows I could use the peace and calm that comes with the practice, so I figured why not try it out. I promised myself that I was going to make this work.

I’m focused intently on the speaker’s words. My back starts to hurt and begins sending messages to my brain, but my brain tells my back to stuff it, to sit in the corner, and keep its’ comments to itself until the meditation is over. I follow my brain’s lead. I follow intently with what the speaker says to do. I try to focus just on his words. I don’t go any deeper. I just listen to his words. I don’t dare ask any questions. I don’t dig deeper. I just listen and react.

And you know what, it begins to work. I wouldn’t call it a great meditative trance, but when the speaker comes to a close, I find that my breathing has eased into a relaxed, natural pace of its own and I’m calmer for even trying. My stress and anxiety have eased. What’s more, I’m strangely grateful.

I write down in my calendar to try again tomorrow. And oh yea, one more thing, I make a note to not take myself too seriously. See! I’m making progress already. 

“More important than talent, strength, or knowledge is the ability to laugh at yourself and enjoy the pursuit of your dreams.”

—Amy Grant


Thank you for reading. Please follow the HoTM site and join in on the discussion. I’d love to hear your thoughts. In addition, please visit my personal blog at or follow me on Instagram at @writingfromtheheartwithbrian.

All the best, Brian.

Images by Pexels

34 thoughts on “Meditate on this!

  1. …”but my brain tells my back to stuff it”…Oh my…thanks for the mid-week grin…that’s the best line EVER, Brian. Thank you for sharing the ups, the downs, the progress — you’re a champ for hanging in there! 😉😊😉

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Oh, let’s just say that my brain used a bit more saltier language in that situation, but I figured it best to keep HoTM PG-13!!! Ha, ha. It’s a process. I’m still very much a newbie … but it’s been fun to try something new! And not to worry about being an expert!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hmmm….maybe you’ll need to tap in your friend Vicki. I’m getting pretty good at only thinking but not speaking naughty words…but I’d honestly like to purge the thoughts out! Maybe I should devote more time to meditation? See what I did there…looping right back to you and your lovely, inspirational post! 😉😉😉

        Liked by 1 person

  2. “Is it possible to kill yourself by holding in your breath?” Oh, Brian 😂😂😂 I, too, have been working on learning to meditate recently so this post was UTTERLY relatable! Thanks for reminding me to laugh about it all. And my mediocre attempts DO help, even if I’m not (ah-hem) ‘quite’ as serene as the meditation masters 🙏💕

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Oh that’s great! You need to keep me posted on your progress Patti. It’s definitely odd for me. I’m not one to sit idle. My biggest issue yesterday was as soon as I started calming my mind, I kept thinking of blog ideas, and I’ve gotten into the habit lately that when I get an idea, I need to write it down. So every few minutes, I’m writing down another idea. Meditation has been horrible at giving me peace, but a great blog idea generator. Who knew???? Ha, ha!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is too funny, Brian, and all too relatable! My first attempts at meditation were very similar… racing mind, questions about whether I was doing right, and a mass rising to the surface of all those things previously deemed unimportant. 😂😂😂 It really is so important to be able to laugh at ourselves, and be willing to show up again tomorrow to try again.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I wouldn’t call it a habit yet, but I’m trying to work on it each day. It really is funny watching myself. I was really worried I was going to kill myself by not breathing right. D’oh! Ugh. And my arms, I’ve never worried so much about where they should go? Um, maybe at my side. Ha, ha!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Glad you survived, Brian. Most people don’t get this far. It takes years to get any good at this at all. And, yes, you must do it every day. Eventually you will be able to keep your focus on your breathing for quite a long time. Good 🤞 luck.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I can relate to all of this Brian, which is probably why I don’t meditate! It’s really just too much work for me anymore so I just walk. I can zone out instantly the moment I step outside. Keep practicing 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I love it! The writing, the quotes, the practice. I laughed out loud about choking on a huge invisible chunk of air.

    And I’m also chuckling about your exchange with Elizabeth. Maybe we are all a lil crazy – and meditation brings us closer to accepting it and just moving on.

    Putting it on your calendar for “tomorrow” definitely reflects your Type A – but in the best way. Thanks for the laugh and inspiration, Brian!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh good grief, Wynne, that’s not all. I even wrote down “practice my breathing, worry less about my hands, just be.” Yea, I think it’s pretty clear, Type A. But hey, it sort of worked. I did relax more the second time. I’m still early in the process. And hey, chocking on air, that’s a real concern of mine. Okay, maybe not, but gotta work on it.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I love this piece and the humour in it, Brian. It reminds me so much of when I first started practising regular meditation decades ago. However, I don’t meditate as often as I should or even as often as I would like. I’m too easily distracted by day-to-day things that I get sidetracked. I remember doing exactly what you were doing – trying to get the right pose, hand position, breathing etc. You did so well to persevere for so long for your first session. There is no wrong way to meditate. Whatever we think is okay. The trick is, when your mind wanders, think of those thoughts as clouds and watch them float across the sky, silently and gradually and let them disappear into thin air. It’s like letting go of those thoughts, whatever they are, and just allowing them to drift away into the distance. Anyway, you seem to have found a way that’s beginning to work for you, which is great. There’s also a great app called Headspace, which has lots of useful information about meditation if you were interested. You can Google them to find them. I’ve used them before and found them very good. You can get a 14-day free trial period, too. Anyhow, as they say in East London, that’s my two pennyworths. I wish you good luck with your continuing practice. 🧘‍♂️.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Great post! I agree with Deb, – “I can relate to all of this Brian, which is probably why I don’t meditate! It’s really just too much work for me anymore so I just walk. I can zone out instantly the moment I step outside. Keep practicing 🙂”

    Liked by 1 person

  9. You remind me of the hilarious scene in the movie, “Eat Pray Love” when Julia Roberts (playing author Elizabeth Gilbert) takes her first stab at meditation in an ashram in India. She settles into lotus position, rolls her neck, looks at the clock, swats away bugs, adjusts her position, rolls her neck again, looks at the clock, swats away more bugs, looks at the clock again, and after all of the neck-rolling and bug-swatting, less than a minute has passed. What new would-be meditator can’t relate to that? LOL Hang in there, Brian. It gets a lot better!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Brian you got me with where to place my hands – I don’t just do that when meditating – I have major issues trying decide where to put my hands when I’m trying to sleep

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I am more of a Type B person but I get your concern about where to put your hands when meditating. Sometimes it is the small decisions that cause me the most angst. As for swearing in a blog post, I rarely do that… but in real life my language is much more robust.

    Liked by 1 person

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