Finding Peace in My Head.

Author:Clinton, Kate
Position:UNPLUGGED - Essay
 
FREE EXCERPT

In the 1960s, I took a course in Transcendental Meditation. I didn't last long. Even then, sitting cross-legged for two minutes was excruciating. I come from a kneeling faith tradition.

Though I don't remember much of the 1960s, or my own sixties, I still remember the mantra I was given and I still am not at liberty to tell you. It is the oldest secret I have ever kept. Hint: It rhymes with the Muslim name of a former center for the Los Angeles Lakers famous for his "skyhook."

A friend in college encouraged me to try Transcendental Meditation to calm my busy mind. He went on to become a devotee of his guru. He changed his name. He rose through the ranks to become an executive administrator of the ashram. He left after ten years. Maybe his hips gave out. He moved to San Jose, California, took back his birth name, and parlayed his skills into a lucrative consulting career. He bought into a vineyard.

Perhaps because everyone has aged and had hip and/or knee replacements, you are now allowed to meditate while sitting in a chair, hands in lap, feet squarely on the floor. When I heard that, I felt as if I'd been taken off the DL. In the late innings of my life, I once again tried meditation.

The chair was helpful, but I could not sit still. I might as well have been in a fighter-jet ejector seat. Even on a good meditation day, it was as if I were on one of those senior lift chairs. I was up and out in two minutes. I could have used a seat belt. My mind was still busy and now included an attic-head stuffed with fifty years of hoarded clutter. I asked my doctor if there was such a thing as Adult Onset A.D.D. "Do you want Ritalin?" he asked, reaching for his prescription pad.

Despite my unease about what the Fitbit has done to walking, the TED talk has done to thinking, and auto-correct has done to writing, I had to admit that my mani-pedi gateway to mindfulness was not cutting it. I decided to reboot my meditation.

A friend told me that many of her friends were using an app called Head-space. I downloaded the Headspace app with its simple icon of an orange circle. The orange triggered me slightly, reminding me why I needed meditation. Had the Headspace engineers done that intentionally? I adjusted my earbuds, wondering why the left one...

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