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Jess's Headspace: The first taste...

Posted on:23/02/2012 12:27:00

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Meditation is an instant pathway to total bliss and relaxation, yes? Or no. You might be avoiding how you feel about an artery-busting break up, a job loss or just the daily news headlines. Sitting with all the stuff you are trying very hard, to run very fast away from is a bit daunting.

At a recent Headspace event, Andy asked the audience how they felt after Taking Ten. A brave meditation newbie put up his hand and whispered: "I feel a bit, sad." Well done lad. Part of Taking 10 is sitting and listening to how you actually feel. Not in a "how are you?" social networking sort of way which requires the answer  "I'm incredibly good looking, have fun 24 hours a day and have never used my tear ducts." It requires the same honesty that you offer up when a very close friend tilts their head, hands you a cup of tea and asks you how you really are.

Before I started Taking 10 I never sat down to just be. I was sit down averse. I gave up my seat on the tube so I could pace the aisles and continue to ruminate on a deadline, inhale overpriced coffee and try to win an argument via text message. Various doomed relationships had ended with the suggestion that I might put perfectionism and high functionality above, well, anything else. Needless to say I was regularly shunning my feelings in the rush to make other people feel better. I was a bit sceptical that ten minutes a day of focusing on how I felt in the here and now could make me feel any better.

Being a repressed robot sometimes seems like the human condition. You might find yourself doing all manner of activity while you try to stop the big, bad stuff floating to the surface in order to 'get on with things.' So when I did sit down to meditate for the first time without the distraction of people, partying, texting or TV - I did feel, a bit sad. And actually, that is OK.  Negative feelings are universal. We always accept sadness in those we love so it is probably acceptable for us to wipe off our own drawn on smiles every so often.

The act of taking ten minutes to myself that would otherwise go to something less deserving is a prospect so gorgeous it makes me wonder why I didn't do it before. I'm less anxious and I sleep sounder. I even sit down on the tube.

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