I slipped easily back into my usual Sunday routine this morning, only remembering that I was supposed to meditate when I was in the bath.
What I was doing in the bath was reading, and there now follows a small digression about books:
In the bath, I finished reading a Raymond Chandler novel that I’ve been reading for months, and not getting around to finishing even though I like Raymond Chandler. Last night I finished off Aleister Crowley’s Moonchild, too, which I also seem to have been reading for months. There are still a couple of others to go, and I also have maybe thirty or so books on my “incoming” shelf. It’s just like with films: these days I have the attention span and the time to buy them, or stick them on a wishlist, but not actually to read them.
So what am I going to do about that? Well, first of all, I’m going to carry on finishing anything that’s started, but hold off reading anything new until I’ve done that. One book at a time for me from now on. Second, no more books are coming into this house unless they’re absolutely necessary (there’s one on crewing a yacht I need to look at for a sailing holiday I’m going on in September, but that’s about all I can think of.)
Okay, so that’s the book digression over. Meditation. This morning I actually used a candle, which seemed to work better; it was physically easier to hold my attention on the tip of the flame than it had been with the point on a simple object I picked yesterday.
I also tried incense. This was a suggestion from the meditation class. Unfortunately, I think it was the incense that made me sneeze a few times and got me digging around for a tissue instead of focusing on the candle flame. I’m guessing the whole thing with the incense is that it gives you a smell‐association with the meditation, so when you smell the incense next time you get into a meditative state more readily. On that assumption, I’m going to try switching to a scented candle, which should have the same effect but won’t necessarily fill the air with slightly dusty smoke.
There was one big positive difference between today and yesterday: I didn’t feel sleepy. Last night I went to bed comparatively early, and I didn’t set an alarm for this morning. And now I really do feel properly awake, even after the meditation session, which I think is a sign that I’ve started catching up on some much‐needed sleep.
Apart from that, I didn’t notice any significant difference. My mind is still working overtime, throwing out distractions and ideas and pointless digressions, and while I kept coming back to the flame, I probably didn’t last even fifteen seconds without being distracted again.
Still, I’m not expecting instant miracles. If it was that easy to learn to concentrate, we’d probably just get an hour’s lesson on it at the beginning of school and be more productive for the rest of our lives.
More tomorrow. I’m going to have to plan for tomorrow a bit more carefully, as it’s my first proper working morning where I want to fit meditation into my morning routine. That probably means having a shower as soon as I get up, rather than slobbing around checking my email or whatever on the computer and then having a shower before I dash out to work.