I haven’t written about a 40 days practice in a while, I have done them – somehow, with baby stirring in the background. I last did (and didn’t write about) 40 days of breath awareness. I felt peace and stillness from it that I didn’t record how I was feeling often, I didn’t look through my photos or sketchbook – it didn’t feel necessary.
My Dad does this type of meditation every day, he simply calls it ‘listening to my breath, in the quiet and being still’ or ‘quiet time’ for short.
That is pure and simple, what meditation is.
I was happy after that to continue as I was, setting a timer for anywhere between 15-27 minutes to sit, breathe, be still.
Then I had the thought to do meditation for addiction, something is well shown by Yoga teachers on YouTube, it has a catchy title and I enjoyed meditation workshops I went to last year at Joy.
So I tried it and to keep me accountable I wrote out numbers 1-40 on paper and stuck it on the wall, crossing through a number each day. It may not have been a pretty journal page but it worked.
Meditation for addiction involves put your arms up, bent at the elbow with your thumbs pressed into the side of your head and your fingers curled up into the pads of your palm. You then press the part of your head that moves slightly while mentally chanting Sa Ta Na Ma (the primal sounds – infinity, life, death, rebirth) with your teeth pressed together. You can find a version here.
At 3 minutes a day it was practical, I liked how I was whizzing through it. I don’t have any outer addictions like drugs, gambling or sex though I do have a habit of wanting control of things. All the things.
I didn’t notice much difference to life, other than I’m pretty chilled out in the pandemic of COVID-19 and the real reason I stopped is that I developed a frozen shoulder, from using my right arm a lot while having our child at my hip. Then I skidded one day and landed on my right side pulling my right arm, hurting it even more.
This is the first time I’ve given up on arm work. Ever.
It turns out you can’t do it with a frozen shoulder and it’s not just ‘uncomfortable’ or being in ‘discomfort’ it’s pain and at one point I could barely lift my arm. I physically couldn’t lift my arm!
At the same time I found out about a book called Premka- my life with Yogi Bhajan and suddenly everything I had been taught, practiced, sworn by felt it had been tipped up into the air with nowhere to fall. I joined the Premka FB group (since left). I wrote about how I felt and chatted with an old friend who helped ground me a little.
So maybe it was for the best or irony, as the master himself may have had a few addictions.
Since then I’ve been enjoying sitting still and meditating, early morning is the ONLY time I experience silence. We live in a house that isn’t loud in a negative way, though there’s lots of talking and TV on. Then there’s our little one who has just started babbling and watching kiddie shows and it feels like silence will never come again.
Silence comes around again at 9.30 PM and without doing it on purpose I’ve started and ended the day in the same way, it feels wonderful.
Silence is golden.
Here’s to my new 40 days (or longer), simply meditating – listening to the flow of breath in stillness – with an added extra. I’ve started using my mala, a set of rose and pearl beads I hand strung when pregnant has come in useful again as a tool to be accountable and do Simran – Waheguru (God’s name) 108 times or more each morning.
Share your 40 days in the comments below!