Monday, April 11, 2011


Meditation is not really a class for which you can cram.  I mean, you can't exactly pull an all-nighter on Sunday to "prepare" for Monday's session.  I suppose I could do all of the reading in one night, but it's not like there's going to be an essay test the next day.  In fact, I could spend the entire 90 minutes not speaking or communicating with anyone but myself.

So the studying, if you will, for meditation class, comes in the actual doing it.  The go-in-a-dark-room-be-quiet-sit-your-behind-down-and-close-your-eyes kind.  If you don't, there is no judgment from other learners or the teacher (mostly because they don't get to ask how many times you practiced over the course of the week).  But the more you sit yourself down, the more your body reaps the rewards.

Judah asked me today if I had Still Class.  It took me a moment to figure out what he was talking about.  "Oh yes, Still Class! Yes, yes," I replied, almost laughing at his interpretation of -my explanation of- meditation.  Leave it to a 3 year old (almost 4) to boil it down to this.  But that's precisely what it is:  a Still class.  I go there so someone who already knows how can guide me to label all of the constant movement of the mind thinking, and focus on my breath.

This sometimes happens more easily than others.

Yesterday when I sat (I set the timer on my phone for 17 minutes), I was not very relaxed.  I kept thinking, "Isn't it 17 minutes yet?  Maybe the airplane mode means it's not going to sound the alarm, so I should probably check."  Luckily, the alarm did go off (a lovely harp sound) and I smiled as I got up off of my cushion.

Tonight was a little easier, although I kept thinking to myself how my mind would rather think than not-think.  Not-thinking is sooooo boring.  My mind does not want to do it.  But after a little while of not-thinking, I began to zone out.  As if I were in a sort of twilight, in between awake and asleep (it's possible I did start to doze once or twice in a fully seated position).

I know it is good for me to zone, and to doze.  And after reading and hearing lots of stories of people who have been healed by doing different types of meditation, I feel as though this is the best medicine I can give myself in the post-treatment phase of my cancer.  I don't want to do drugs, I don't have the energy or the strength for hard core exercise, and I'm very sorry, but I cannot be a vegan.  I can come close, but there are lots of foods I just enjoy too much (frozen yogurt, pita chips, rotisserie chicken!, chevre, croissants, to name a few...).  So since I no longer have a medical regimen to control my days, or divide my life into 3 week segments, I am treating myself to a more spiritual kind of recovery.  The kind that comes from not-doing.

It's amusing because I have always been the type of person who is most satisfied during and after doing.  I like to actively pursue plans and efficiently exhaust To Do lists.  And now, front and center on my To Do is -Not Do.

There are, of course, other items as well.  And these items also pop into my head as I'm not-thinking and not-doing.  Like tidying up for the cleaning lady or taking the car for an oil change, making a cd for Judah with some new kid music, pack his lunch, do the laundry... All of that other busy stuff is still there, but so is the one that instructs me to be not-busy.

And I like that.



  1. Om. My goodness!
    "Tryin to Relax" is a good trick to learn
    at any endeavor. I'm convinced it takes alot
    of practice. Thanks, Mia.
    love, Uncle Larry

  2. Hi! I found your blog through the Lymphoma Facebook group. I am 24-years-old and currently going through R-CHOP treatments. You are so funny, I love reading your blog and can definitely relate to you. Congrats that you are in remission now! :)

  3. For what it may be worth, a strategy that you may find useful is to systematically, part by part from toe to head, relax the parts of your body as an entry process. Quieting the body helps to be quieter in the mind.