While Meditating

For those who believe meditating is about clearing your mind and silencing your thoughts, I offer this personal observation: Ha! Not my experience at all!

I’m not saying things don’t calm down considerably. Of course they do. But my objective is NOT to get completely quiet inside my head. If it were, meditation would be very disappointing and I probably wouldn’t still be doing it.

For me, meditating is about being with what is, including every little  thought that inevitably pops into my consciousness as I attempt to concentrate on the (also inevitable) in-and-out of my breath.

If I stay with the process long enough (typically 30 minutes), it does get quieter “in there.” I do experience a sense of peace. I do find myself being present.

When I first attempted meditation, my random thoughts wouldn’t “go” when I instructed them to do so. They’d loiter and harangue. I’d get all self-critical and on some high horse about how unenlightened I was and would always be. Now I notice the thoughts that show up, and I wave them on their merry way.

After over a year of practice, my thoughts have “gotten with the program.” They are much more cooperative. I give them permission to go, and they actually go! I can quickly and almost effortlessly bring my attention back to my breath.


Recently, because I was paying attention, I noticed several recurring categories of thoughts, which prompted this…



  • That vine in the front yard that’s going to pull the house down if left to its own devices. Perhaps a machete?
  • My taxes, one of these days
  • It’s time to do a load of towels
  • Another box of books to sort through
  • Breathe in. Breathe out. Repeat.


  • The breeze coming in through the window is a little much on my right shoulder.
  • My ass is definitely taking up more square footage on this chair than it used to.
  • I feel the hair on the back of my neck; time for a trim.
  • Sit up straight.
  • My breath seems shallow. Breathe in deep. Breathe out.


  • Birds. No idea what kind.
  • The neighborhood canine population
  • Cars starting, speeding
  • The window shade rattling in the breeze
  • The in and out of my breath.


  • Why does fall/autumn get two words, but the other seasons only get one?
  • Which way is better to remember the number of days in a month? The little “Thirty days has September…” ditty, or the knuckles-and-space-between-the-knuckles method?
  • Will I shave my head in solidarity if/when E.D. loses her hair to radiation and chemo?
  • What if enough people don’t vote for Hillary?
  • Damn monkey mind. Why can’t I stay focused on my breath? Stop being so “judgy” Celenia!


  • Breathe in. Breathe out. Repeat.

[Photo of “Lulu & The Buddha” courtesy of Bernie Austin]


  1. C, This is wonderful! I may use it during my class next week (with your permission..is that ok?) Did I get photo credit for “meditating LULU”? I took that on one of her birthdays & wrote a poem about it.

    I really love this blog. Last night during class we did a 5 min meditation in which a siren drove by & a very loud motorcycle went by. I incorporated the sounds into the meditation. Very funny! Have a lovely day! In Joy, Bernie 805-340-7605

    Bernie Austin Life Coaching & Body Therapies http://www.Bernie4Balance.com Sent from my iPhone



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