I’ve tried to meditate. I mean, I’ve tried sitting cross-legged with my hands on my knees, eyes closed, breathing deeply. I’ve tried laying in a dark room and listening to the CD of tones someone once gave me when I did an article on a New Agey-wellness center outside of Buffalo.
It doesn’t work. The harder I try to clear my head, the more my mind races with thoughts that are anything but calming.
But I’ve realized recently that even though I can’t meditate in the traditional way, I do meditate regularly (if not every day). Last Saturday, my book club met to discuss Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. The woman who suggested the book is Indian and Hindu. When the conversation turned to the pray part of the book (which, for those who haven’t read it, is actually meditation), I talked about how I can’t meditate the traditional way, but that my thoughts clear and my best creative ideas come to me when I exercise, especially outside. I said I realized that is my own way of meditating, and I think I get the same results as those who can sit still in a quiet room and concentrate on a mantra.
And the Hindu doctor in the room told me that I was, in fact, meditating. She said (and I consider her an expert) there are thousands of ways one can meditate, and there really is no right way or wrong way.
I decided to write about this today because my friend Leslee wrote her blog today about how much she hates cleaning. As I read it, I thought about how much I actually enjoy cleaning. I don’t know if it’s because I have to concentrate on one thing, if it’s the white noise of the vacuum or the repetitiveness involved, but cleaning has a Zen affect on my mind. I go into a zone and my head clears and I make a lot of important decisions while scrubbing toilets, folding clothes, mopping the kitchen or washing dishes (I don’t use my dishwasher, it doesn’t get anything clean).
I can’t be comfortable in a messy house. It drives me insane. It’s too chaotic and disorganized. I can’t be creative or useful in a room with items strewn about the floor or in a house where dishes litter the counter. My grandmother would be proud. My mother would probably be mortified that she raised someone with anal retentive qualities. But it is who I am.
And it’s a good thing. Because meditation or prayer, I think, are essential to emotional and mental health and overall happiness with one’s life, no matter what state it may be in. And if I can get that through exercise and cleaning, well, there are worse things, right?