December 26, 2020
But That's Another Story
The first time I attempted to meditate I had just applied for a job at Pohlman Studios in Milwaukee, WI. It was a commercial studio whose biggest client at the time was Harley-Davidson. Surprisingly enough I got an interview with the head photographer.
I wanted that job so bad I was ready to cheat, lie, steal, and do anything else I could to get it. I did none of those things. Bobbie had just gotten a nursing job at St. Joseph Hospital two blocks from our apartment, and I was anxious to be employed too.
Not much of a person to get on my knees and pray, I did not do that. I thought I'm a hypocrite if I prayed now and not when things were going well and when they weren't.
While Bobbi was at work I sat on the floor in the living room, crossed my legs, relaxed my hands in my lap, closed my eyes, and for twenty minutes every day, I imagined myself working in the studio, shooting products, talking to clients, and doing everything the head photographer, Tom Condi asked of me.
I got the job! I thought it might have been the meditation. But I did not meditate again until recently.
Having now meditated again daily for almost a year, I know that is not how meditation works. Or perhaps maybe it does, and I've only been introduced to one form of it. Sue Kennedy introduced me to a program or App, whichever you prefer, on her iPhone, called Calm.
Calm is more than meditation. It offers sleep help, music for calming, meditation, breathing exercises, and other ways to relate to the world and minimize stress. It is a monthly subscription on your phone.
When I began again it was easy to get into the groove, sit relaxed, and be calm for ten minutes every day. I started with Jeff Warren and his 30 days of meditation. It was a course on how to meditate.
After the 30 days, I set my timer for ten minutes without Jeff and found myself lost. I took the course again, and then again. I found I was unable to concentrate without a voice in my ear.
But 90 days of Jeff was getting redundant. I knew I needed something else. I searched Calm for others and found Tamara Levitt. There is always an introduction with her, but her technique is not teaching, rather relaxing and focusing on concentration.
It is also ten minutes. I knew I needed more than that. After the morning session with her, I have a timer set for 15 minutes. No voice, just the sounds of my left ear humming, the refrigerator noise, the clock ticking on the wall, and other ambient sounds that pass through.
I listen to the sounds, accept the sounds I do hear, and then let go of them. I can still hear them but only as ambient noise. They are part of the environment of silence I am in. My focus becomes the pattern of my breathing, the feeling of my body, my relaxed position in my chair.
Everything fades. I hear only the air as it enters my lungs, and escapes again. My breath, the in and out of air in each and every inhale and exhale is a point of focus.
Thoughts come and go. I do not suppress them. Like a mosquito buzzing around the room, thoughts swirl in and then swirl out. My breath, my inhales, and my exhales are the focus, the concentration.
This process strengthens my ability to think, to realize each moment as it is. Most people think great ideas will come into mind as you meditate. No, the daily practice of meditation reveals itself outside, when you are living life.
I thought when I started because I fell into the concentration mode so quickly the rest of everything else would come quickly too. Not so. Meditating is much like life itself.
I wanted a quick fix. I thought this was it. There is no such thing.
Sometimes I have trouble with a solid point of focus and have difficulty meditating. That is ok. That is life.
Sometimes I sit in relaxation and meditation is over in a heartbeat, or so it seems. Each time there is a different feeling, a different experience. It's okay. It's life.
There is never an agenda. One comes into meditation with no expectation of an outcome. I think that is why I fell back into it with such ease.
My days as a photojournalist were exactly like that. Whenever I went on an assignment I focused on no expected outcome. Each outcome was its own reward.
The same was always true for my morning walks. Does that mean I have unconsciously been meditating for most of my adult life? I have no idea.
Thank you. I am grateful for your visit.