Uptown Bourgeois is an arts, news, and culture blog created by New York-based freelance writer Jefferey Spivey. UB explores universal themes through a black, queer lens. 

I Don't Know How To Meditate

I’ve always been intrigued by the practice of meditation but I felt it wasn’t for me.  The times that I’ve tried it before, I was expecting to immediately clear my mind and feel at ease afterward.  The only problem was I didn’t know what the hell I was doing.  My interpretation of meditation was based on a combination of what I’d seen in movies and what I was able to piece together from a quick Google search.

I would sit on the floor with my legs crossed and my hands resting on my legs.  I’d close my eyes. I’d concentrate very heavily on regulating my breathing.  And I’d internally recite a mantra that went after whatever demon I was trying to fight.  And I’d set an alarm for 10 minutes so I’d know when my meditation time was over.  After my jarring alarm would shock me back to reality, I realized I’d just spent 10 minutes trying not to breathe too quickly and exhausting myself trying to block out my thoughts.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought I was supposed to feel more at ease after meditation. Not stressed out.

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon Headspace.  Headspace is an app created to help us all pull 10 minutes out of every day to center ourselves and clear out some “headspace”.  I thought it’d be worth a try since I still didn’t know how to meditate.  Maybe having an experienced professional guide my practice would be beneficial even if that person wasn’t physically present.

Upon my first use of the app, I was surprised at how easy it was to focus and how rested I felt after my first 10-minute session.  Each activity, guided by a man with a very soothing Australian accent, walks you through the correct process of meditation.  I learned how to first focus on my surroundings and then block them out.  I also learned that it’s okay to let my mind wander to other thoughts as long as I can bring it back in to the activity.

I’m not perfect by any means.  I still found myself thinking about what happened at work that day or what was for dinner.  But after 10 minutes of connecting with myself, I felt more at ease and more capable of thinking clearly.  And that’s the objective of Headspace and meditation in general.

Before, I was expecting to dive into meditation and immediately become an expert.  But it’s not about excelling and being the best.  Meditation is about centering yourself and clearing some part of your mind to find a bit of peace in each day, no matter how good or bad the day was.  Understanding this has already made a world of difference for me.  Now, on to session 4.

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