A Truly Shocking Reason To Adopt Meditation
Next week I am going on a meditation retreat for 3 days.
It’s only the second time I have ever been on a retreat and the last time three years ago I made a bit of a fool of myself (read more here for the full, rather embarrassing story), although I still had a great time.
Even though I’d been meditating for 7 or 8 years I’d rarely sat for more than 30 minutes at a time and 20 minutes was probably a closer average before that retreat.
Rather strangely I was a tad stressed on the drive to the retreat center and not just because I got stuck in traffic going the wrong way up the I4.
I was concerned whether I could actually shut the fuck up during the quiet parts of the retreat, but even more worryingly – sit for meditations lasting an hour or more.
The Irony, The Irony
Yes, yes, it is kind of ironic that a Life Coach should be getting stressed over a meditation weekend, but it was what it was.
You have thoughts flying all around your head like demented winged monkeys who escaped from the set of The Wizard of Oz and set up shop inside your skull.
Most of the time you are totally unaware of these jabbering apes because your focus is on your external world and you simply tune the flying fuckers out.
The great thing about meditation is also its downfall for most people.
Sitting quietly with your thoughts means listening to the chattering chimps and for the most part they are either not saying nice things or trying to wind you up and get you to worry about all sorts of shit that for the most part isn’t worth worrying about it.
Because of this some people avoid meditation because they think they are weird and that they not only have more chimps, but madder, noisier and more irritable ones.
How badly do many people want to avoid the clattering in their cranium?
Peace And Quiet or Electric Shock, Sir?
Well, according to a study published in Science magazine, two thirds of men and a quarter of women when left in a room alone in perfect silence and instructed to think about whatever they wanted, preferred to give themselves an electric shock rather than be alone with their thoughts.
One man/lunatic shocked himself 191 times, although the average was 7 times in a 15 minute period.
The shock wasn’t great at 9 volts and the researchers gave them a sample shock beforehand so that people wouldn’t do it from a curiosity perspective, but even so, what does this tell us about our inability to manage our thoughts?
A lot is the answer.
As more and more research stacks up demonstrating the benefits of developing a meditation practice some people still find it tricky getting past that initial stage.
Meditation Isn’t Always Easy
I admit, it can be difficult.
To me it’s like working out at the gym. The first half is always the hardest and (again for me personally as I am sure some people are different), the first 5 minutes of a meditation is always the part where I’m more agitated.
I can’t say that being alone with my thoughts has ever had me reaching for a Taser to apply a few volts to my testicles, but there have been occasions when it’s been irritating.
But that’s ok.
It hurts going to the gym to start with and the dentist can hurt too.
It’s seldom easy starting a new job.
And it can be tough asking for a date or a pay raise, but we still do it.
Some people have no problem starting to meditate, but others do.
if you fall into the latter group like I did (and still sometimes do), just push through knowing you’re treating your brain to some valuable time off and spanking a few monkeys into the bargain – pun absolutely intended.
If you want a gentle introduction into meditation, check out my beginners guide and let the goodness begin.