My Gram is really good at meditating; she just doesn't know it. If I ever told her that she was she would look at me and have absolutely no idea what I was talking about. Like a lot of people I'm pretty sure she doesn't know a lot about meditation, which makes the naturally occurring glimpses of it even better.
I found out about her super power last summer when I went to her house to do some gardening. She always comes out and keeps me company, and spending time with her is one of my favorite things to do.
As I was pulling weeds, I looked over to check on her because she had become really quiet. She was sitting comfortably, looking off towards the sky, and I was wondering what she was thinking and if she was ok. I didn't want to interrupt her so I went back to what I was doing, but I kept peeking at her evey now and then. After about a half hour of total silence she turned to me and said, "There's a bird over there building a nest. It's been coming and going- just building away."
I sat there listening as she talked about it and realized that the only thing she had been doing was relaxing and taking in her surroundings. She didn't need to fidget or try to fill the silence with unncessary noise; she was perfectly content to sit where she was and just be present in the moment.
In comparison, I was the complete opposite. My brain didn't shut up the entire time. I was consumed by thoughts about how I wanted a coffee, how I needed to go to the store, and how I hate when dirt makes it past my wrist and into my glove. I had sent a few texts and taken progress pictures. I was multitasking and lost in thoughts about everything else. I had noticed that my phone needed to be charged but not the bird. What a shame. My Gram wasn't anywhere except in the yard enjoying the moment and I was everywhere else. The irony that I was wondering if she was ok suddenly became very clear to me.
What my Gram was doing was actually a form of meditation. I think a lot of people would be surprised by that because people tend to have preconceived ideas on what meditation is and how it's done, but people meditate in many different ways. Mindfulness meditation is simply awareness over what is happening in the present moment. It is the practice of not needing anything, an exercise in nothing. I call it a super power because I think it is very hard to do. Distractions are everywhere and self distractions are the worst. Thoughts are persistent and pushy and take your attention in the direction that they want you to go. I practice everyday and have to work really hard on not letting that happen. Sometimes it just doesn't work. If I don't have my mala with me- forget it. Instead of floating off in different directions, my mala is something that I can hold on to that keeps me rooted in the moment and focused on where I am, and what I'm supposed to be doing.
I know that I'm not alone. When is the last time you looked around and paid attention to what the people around you are doing? How many are distracted? I think the worst thing to see is a group of people sitting together and everyone looking at their phones. We're so focused on being connected to everything but we don't actually pay attention to anything. We put ourselves last without knowing it. Sometimes I find myself spending my free time thinking about how I must be forgetting something. I couldn't POSSIBLY have nothing to do or think about. Life is busy; and seems to be getting busier, but there needs to be a balance. Your life should be like a piece of art; You should stop and take in the details of it clearly, not look at it through a screen, or even worse walk by it with your head down.
That day with my Gram made me realize how far off track I am, and I'm trying to learn how to live without outside things constantly dictating my attention. It's hard, and I have a really long way to go, but I've found that the more I practice meditation, the easier is gets. Even just a few minutes makes me feel better. My goal is to someday be like my Gram and be able to sit in the yard or wherever I may be, and know that I'm truly there. I want to be free from the constant pull of distractions and have the ability to let things wait. I can't think of anything better. Until then I will do myself the favor and continue to practice...practice...practice...