Last January, I finished a meditation module and wrote a blogpost about it. A blogpost I never got around to posting – be it due to fear, laziness or something else. I’m going to be done with yet another course – a mindfulness course alongside my therapy sessions – and read my thoughts on meditation from a couple months ago. I realized that there was a feeling I took from the meditation classes that I completely forgot about: a feeling of hope. And that’s a feeling I want to remember, so it seems worth it to still put this post up.
Four classes, one every early Sunday morning. It was a struggle to get up each week – I used to be a morning person, getting up early, going to the gym before class or work and feeling like I had slept in when I naturally woke at 8 o’clock. Now, not so much anymore. So with sleepy eyes and my yoga mat I headed to my meditation class, the city still asleep.
Now that it’s finished, part of me is glad (no more early mornings) but part of me wishes that the course was just that little bit longer. It helped me get out of bed in the morning on a day that I usually would have spent bathing in laziness, but the classes itself were something I could get used to. I’ve been struggling to be disciplined for a while; a typical case of “I’ll start tomorrow!”. I really should start meditating again, it’ll help me relax and start the day right. But naturally, “I should…” changed into “Let me just sit down on the sofa and watch Netflix all night”. Going to the classes was the discipline I needed.
The thought of “having to” meditate for 45 minutes to an hour (the objective of the course) was daunting at first, because I was worried that I was going to have to spend that time… well, worrying. My mind is rarely ever quiet; I overthink, stress and obsess over seemingly the most random things. But I also realized that I was there to learn. And I learned that meditation isn’t all about turning off your thoughts and just sitting blissfully for an hour (how!?). The thoughts are allowed to be there, but you don’t focus on them. Realising that made the prospect of meditating – longer than the 10 minutes I used to do myself – much less daunting.
We did yoga exercises before meditation every week, to warm up our legs and open our hips, so as to sit comfortably. Our teacher also explained to us some breathing exercises; they felt strange at first (there was a lot of loud breathing) but once we all got over feeling self-conscious they ended up being really helpful.
There’s one thing in particular that I took from these meditation classes. One class, we briefly talked about reincarnation. I’m never really sure what to think about the afterlife; I want to believe that there’s more after this life, but at the same time, I find it hard to image. But anyway. Our teacher told us that in the yoga philosophy, they do believe in reincarnation. I suddenly felt anxious. For a few seconds, I worried about my next life (because why would I just worry about this life? Aim higher, sister!). Although I am often unhappy with certain things about myself, I do stand behind the beliefs that I have. The importance of trust, honesty and loyalty. Don’t do to other people what you wouldn’t want to have done to you. Treat people with respect. Be on time. Do and believe what you want, as long as it doesn’t hurt others. With all the talk about reincarnation, I started worrying that I could – if reincarnation is a thing – be a whole different person in my next life. A serial killer, maybe. Someone who enjoys hurting others and deigns himself to be better than others. A fugitive. Or I could be born in a war zone, grow up to the sound of gunshots and losing loved ones. All totally realistic fears of course, really something I should spend some more time contemplating (…).
Anyway, those thoughts kept floating through my head. I managed to relax during the meditation, but when I got back home I told my boyfriend about it. I told him I could come back as someone I (the “me” I am now) would hate, a mean, inherently evil person. He looked at me (I could see him think, glass half empty or glass half full?) and said, “Or… you could be a butterfly.”
Those simple words particularly resonated with me. I was aware how absurd and nonsensical my thoughts were (or are), but it opened my eyes how easily my monologue about all the possible things that could go wrong, he wiped that all away by pointing out the opposite. By pointing out my negative thoughts and spinning them into something positive. What if I’ll be a butterfly?