The First Time I Meditated

bed-quiet

I went to bed at 10:39 pm most every day in high school. The precise nature of that time may have been due to some obsessive tendencies, but that’s a different story. I decided it was the optimal time since I could never seem to be in bed by 10:30 on the dot and I wanted to be asleep by 11.

But once tucked in, the thoughts would begin. Conversations I’d had during the day. My schedule tomorrow. What outfit to wear, the homework I’d forgotten, the project due in a month. All of it. All at once. And always when I tried to sleep.

20 minutes would pass, then 40, then an hour and I’d still be replaying days in my head instead of falling asleep.

The first time I meditated I didn’t know it was meditating.

By my mid-twenties, I was still talking to my mind all hours of the night. And thankfully Google had the answer. Try counting breaths. One on the inhale, two on the exhale, all the way to 10. Then repeat. When you wander, come back to your breath.

And, by golly, it worked. My breath became my savior. An anchor I could grasp when the thoughts were spinning. And way more effective than the sheep I tried to count years before.

Then when I decided to try to tackle my habit of yelling at other drivers on the road (my road rage knew no bounds), breathing popped up again. When I became aggravated, counting to 10 in slow breaths calmed my nerves and brought me back to Earth.

But I still didn’t know I was meditating.

It wasn’t until I read about someone doing something really cool in New York – offering meditation to superstar startup and finance workers – that it hit me they were one and the same.

Suddenly I was a meditator. Actually, I’d been one all along, finding my breath during crunch time in baseball games and swim meets. Bringing myself to the present moment when it mattered. It was a part of who I was. Who I already am.

(Those, too, are probably stories for another time.)

The first time I meditated? I have no idea when it was. I’ve always been a meditator. And so have you.