It is February. Right? I don’t have to make a resolution in January and stick to it from that date on. I can start anytime I want. Can’t I? What’s more, I don’t have to beat myself up about it.
I’ve only just begun the diet thing and it’s driving me mad already. The odd thing is, this January (just gone), I didn’t make any kind of resolution. What kept buzzing around my head like an irritating little fly was, “What does resolution mean anyway?” as I’ve often heard it used in the context of “We’ve reached a resolution!”
Yay! Forgive me, but doesn’t that mean the end of something? The Collins English Dictionary says it is a ‘firm decision’ and ‘a formal expression of opinion’ and I’ve heard people say “we’ve resolved to do this by this date” – which kind of makes the two ideas at odds with each other. Doesn’t it?
Every time the New Year arrives (and I’ve experienced 53 of the bleeders!), I make an attempt to stay up until Big Ben begins to gong. I like to watch the electrical spray of fireworks from the safety of my bedroom window, guzzle some champagne (more like coffee nowadays), kiss someone’s lips (chance would be a fine thing!), then get started on the goals I’ve just set myself.
This year, I never made it a firm resolution to lose weight. But one of the goals that I did resolve to do was to meditate. Sadly, I did what Yoda told me not to do (try it) and you know what? It drove me bonkers!
In my attempt to learn a new way to calm my troubled soul, with my Amazon Christmas Gift vouchers, I bought a couple of books on the subject. One of them was Teach Yourself To Meditate: Over 20 simple exercises for peace, health & clarity of mind, by Eric Harrison. Thought it would give me some easy-to-follow steps to get me there. Given that it was published in 1993, the author could be forgiven for his patronising style of writing. Given my sole goal to meditate was to get a grip of the grief I held onto, that book didn’t help me very much.
Then I bought a copy of Kane Georgiou’s book Meditation For Beginners: The complete guidebook, the blurb told me Kane “is a man with an open mind” yet he used to have an “aggressive hands on” approach to footballers aching bodies until he turned whacky. Thought perhaps his baseline in reality would give me the incentive to keep at it. But the numerous typos in the text irritated the hell out of me. It was like a little electrical charge buzzed me away from concentrating on quietness. So annoying. Particularly when I was trying to still my mind.
Given that I’m the type of woman who reads books like Carlo Rovelli’s Reality Is Not What It Seems: The Journey to Quantum Gravity, taking a wander into meditation territory is a bit at odds with my personality. Though Carlo’s book describes the science behind the mysticism, it still offers a lot of waffle that I sincerely cannot understand.
Still, as I sat there in that awkward pose, with my fat legs aching like mad, I struggled.
Do you know how difficult it is to try to think of nothing while doing nothing but thinking about the aching bits about your body? Of course, I know people who do manage to accomplish it. And they do it wonderfully well. Some even reach the heavenly state of Nirvana. Whatever the hell that is. Someone told me that it’s a state of mind you get to when you’ve let go of everything. When you’re there, nothing bothers you. You are One With The Divine. Again, whatever.
When I did manage to do it, I kind of felt as though I was cheating. At first, I struggled in vain to calm my mind so badly I wanted to put it on Jo Frost’s Naughty Step. But after a while I began to feel something akin to nothing.
I was somehow detached. I felt as though nothing mattered. I didn’t care about anything anymore. But it certainly wasn’t what I imagined heaven to be like. It was as though I had created some big black abyss where nothing existed.
Maybe that’s what I learned.
Quite worrying, actually.
Aren’t I, and everyone else, put on this planet to experience it? To think about what is about me and its many wonders (and horrors)? To actually feel the emotions I experience? Am I not supposed to watch films like The Matrix and get deluded by the illusion of make-believe reality? Not only that, am I not supposed to learn something from these experiences, thoughts and feelings?
I must admit, it did feel good. To let go of the cares of the world. My job that didn’t appreciate me, my credit card debt mounting around me, my bills that were supposed to make me feel successful simply by having them (in New Age-speak), my house built on a flood plane. All of it seemed to disappear for the few minutes I managed it.
Yet, still, I felt uncomfortable.
Apart from the pain in my hip, which just would not disappear, it felt like I was giving up. Horrible thoughts filled my mind. A couldn’t-care-less attitude started to seep into my heart. There seemed no value to the things I had surrounded myself with. It all felt so cheap and nasty and, as though all the tremendous hard work and effort I and others had made, to get what I had, had all been in vain. They seemed like things I had collected. Worthless. Empty. Vain.
I felt, in a word, selfish.
This is why I can’t meditate.
I am a part of this world. I am embedded within it and all its glorious madness. It’s a world I want to experience. To feel, to see, to hear, to smell the beautiful aromas (and sometimes bad ones!). Sitting down and concentrating on nothing makes me feel like I’m giving up.
Why can’t I meditate? Because it makes me feel detached from all that I cherish.
It also makes me feel hungry.
Now, on this less sugar diet that I’m on, is it ok to have poached egg on toast? I’ll resolve to look in my books, just to make sure I’m on track to meet my goal!
Kaye Bewley BewleyBooks.com