Sharks, snakes, spiders, sunburn—I've survived them all. Well, I grew up in Australia, so claiming I "survived" might be a bit of a stretch. It's probably more accurate to say I strategically avoided conflict with said dangers.
I've come a long way since those summers spent making sure someone was always farther ahead of me on a swim or hike, and these days I no longer live in fear of a black widow hanging out in my shoe. But I'm embarrassed to report that there's one thing that gives me the heebie-jeebies to this day: meditation.
This aversion to uninterrupted time with my thoughts is confusing when you consider the fact that I am on board with pretty much every other type of holistic healing. As I look around my apartment, I see a coffee table littered with about 30 different types of chakra stones, a stack of books on spirituality, and a whole lot of Hidden Hippie bra crystals lying around. Yep, this shoe box of New York real estate is my chill, happy place, where I churn out musings on all things crystals and energy medicine.
I'll program my crystals, smudge my apartment, and keep my chakras balanced no worries, but ask me to sit down, shut my eyes, and focus on my breath? I'm sweating just thinking about it.
Surely I can't be the only spiritual seeker out there who gets a little panicky about the thought of calming down.
It's not like meditating has nasty venom or gnarly teeth. In fact, I acknowledge my aversion likely falls under the irrational because-you-know-it's-good-for-you type fear. I hear all the arguments that I should be meditating, but try as I might, I still don't have a consistent practice (unless once a year counts as consistent).
Trying to pinpoint the source of my resistance is tricky, but I think a few factors come into play.
I don't want to lose my edge.
I'm pretty sure a lot of my success comes from my obsessive, type-A personality. When I set my mind to a goal, I become obsessed with achieving it, and this drive is what gets me over the finish line. If I start meditating, will I lose whatever fire is keeping me going? I know this may sound silly, but it's a real fear of mine. It's not to say that I don't practice serious downtime; I do! But I find that losing myself in a trashy fantasy novel about elves works just fine.
Feeling pain sucks, but it's familiar.
OK, even I know this sounds more like a reason to start meditating than not, but hey, I'm rolling with it. Constantly carrying around a dose of tension, pain, and stress isn't ideal, but I don't really know anything different. It's familiar to me and there's something comforting in that. Judge as you might, but I associate a calm, meditative mind to one floating around in an unknown abyss of zen—very unfamiliar territory. I may be stressed and anxious often, but that doesn't mean that I'm not genuinely happy that way.
Does this mean that I won't ever try meditating consistently? Absolutely not. I'd even argue that this fear is reason enough to give meditation a try. But, when I do, I'm going to do it my own way and in my own time. In the meantime, I'll keep using my go-to methods to stay zen: crystals, Harry Potter, and puppies. Always puppies.