Do You Have a Hamster Wheel Inside Your Head?

The truth is, I can be anxious. Yep, I’ve been known to sweat the small stuff. To worry. To chew on a “problem” like a dog on a bone.

Can you relate?

For those of you who share my hamster wheel-like brain affliction, I’m sorry. It can be a bit exhausting, can’t it? Sure, it can serve us well at times- helping us to be creative, motivated and engaged. But, it can also tend to focus on things we can’t control which, as you probably already know, is crazy-making.

The desire to quiet the hamster wheel inside my head is what lead me to finally give this whole meditation thing a try. As you may have read in a previous post, I signed up for an 8-week meditation class at Peacebox so that I’d have some accountability and structure around my efforts (because, as it turns out, “meditating” whilst lying prone in my bed at 10:30 p.m. just puts me to sleep. Shocker!).

I’m three weeks into my meditation class and I am happy to report that I have found my place of Zen and feel as though I know the secrets of the Universe. Kidding! Meditation is actually one of the most awkward, difficult things that I’ve ever tried. But, dare I say, something is shifting a bit…

One of the side effects of having a hamster-wheel kind of brain (or, as my meditation teacher calls it “monkey mind”) is that you feel as though you must be in doing mode all of the time. Action, talking, movement, reacting…doers love these things. And, honestly, not doing can make us really uncomfortable. So, as you can imagine, sitting quietly and “doing nothing” for even 10 minutes kind of freaks me out.

So, in the course of three weeks I have maybe meditated a total of 30 minutes at home on my own. I need to be doing things for goodness sakes! There is no time to just sit still! Yup, if this were a graded class I’d be far from passing. But, that’s the thing, the practice of meditation is intended to be the antithesis of judgment, expectation and “grading” of ourselves.

When I go to class each week and talk about how I “should have” meditated more during the week and start verbally flogging myself for resisting the practice, my teacher gently reminds me there will be no judgment from her, even if I never meditate one minute outside of class. So I guess the only person judging me is…me.

I certainly don’t have this meditation thing all figured out. My foot still falls asleep when I try to sit cross-legged on the cushion and my mind races thinking about all of the to-do’s sitting there waiting for me in my calendar. But, the practice of meditation is telling me that I can choose not to judge myself harshly for this, or anything else in my life for that matter.

And guess what happens when you stop choosing the option of judging the hell out of yourself? Yep. You tend to stop judging situations, “problems” and others so harshly, too. I’d say that’s a pretty important shift.

Whether or not you ever sit on a cushion to meditate, I do hope you’ll think about releasing the judgment that you direct at yourself. Slow that hamster wheel brain down by releasing the pressure and expectations you are heaping onto beautifully imperfect you.

I think it’s a really good start (and we’ll figure out the secrets to the Universe next week).

Namaste,

Amanda

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