01 May 2012

Learning to sit still.

This isn't a new idea at all. I just googled it and found blog posts about it. Same idea, different ways to put it. I'm talking about 'meditation'.
Uuurrrgh...not again, you might say, what's so mystical/cool about meditation anyway? I reacted the same way: rolled my eyes, shook my head, gave a shrug when anyone mentioned that meditation might be just the thing for me to get rid of my anxiety/restlessness. I just can't picture myself sitting SO STILL and doing deep breathing exercises. I am quite sure its not just me; I may have more company than I might expect. If nothing else, I've atleast known people who sing praises to meditation and spit out free, sagely advice about it but have hardly practiced it regularly themselves. Maybe it takes way too much self-control or discipline to stay with it.
Here's another idea: maybe meditation as we all expect it to be, complete with sitting in a posture and focusing on one's breath, and all is too much work for someone like me. Maybe I could break it down into something smaller, such as just sitting "still". Just do nothing for a few minutes. No roaming around the house, no watching TV, checking facebook, just sit in a place. Don't even play with your hands, bite nails, scratch your head... you get the picture. Like being in detention, or made to sit in a corner with your face to the wall: leaving no option. After a while I start to notice my thinking becoming slower and clearer. I see a difference in the way things make sense when I'm thinking while pacing around and when I am just sitting there thinking. Maybe walking does take focus away from actual thinking even though I feel that I am thinking better.
After the stillness takes a little hold, then I start to do something to really focus on. Again, this is just another level to tie me down more, force me to slow down. It could be anything from listening to music to reading to even studying. Now that feels like a meditative state. The idea is to escape the tangle of thoughts, idle chatter in the head and really think clearly.
I remember my college days when during exams I was forced to sit still, concentrate, and learn/memorize/imbibe. There was no option: study or fail, it was that simple. I clearly remember moments of, well, 'meditative peace' if you will during such study sessions. It felt great. Deeply satisfying. Nothing to discipline me after I finished college and started working. Working was simpler and usually allowed more distraction (don't ask me 'how come?', it just was that way for me). More liberty was only wasted in useless worry and anxiety.
Having said that, sitting still is still the first step to it, and quite often may be the only thing you need to do to think clearly with a relaxed mind. Full blown meditation or hardcore studying just might be too much work. Just try to sit still and 'step back' in your mind. It takes practice, so don't just give up too quickly.

Take care,


  1. That's true Aashish..meditation means many different things to many different people. The best thing to do is figure out what works for you. The idea is to free your mind from all the distractions (negativity) around you and channel all your energy into something positive.
    I have been told about these meditation tapes that are widely available in the market. These tapes are recorded with natural sounds like birds chirping, ocean waves crashing..etc etc. I am not sure how well they work, but there's no harm in trying.
    For me, jogging works to keep my anxiety levels in control..or if not atleast gives me one less thing to worry about weight gain :D
    Well i think writing isn't bad too..its a good meditation..isnt it :)

    1. Completely agree! :-)
      Writing works nicely for me too, as does reading.
      I'm too lazy to get out there and jog, but I know by experience that physical activity can be effective.

  2. Well put. I think that's why I like editing photos. I have to sit still a lot. Often after I finish a photo I try to make my mind go blank, and then just let the first reaction pop in my head. Sometimes this will let me see it from a fresh perspective since I have been starring at it for sometimes over an hour or two.

    P.S.- I answered your post about the RAW vs JPEG (well, as best I could)

  3. "learning to sit still".. me too..!!