Finding Peace in My Head – The Progressive – 12/1/17

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 sixties or my own sixties, I still remember my mantra and am still not at liberty to tell you.  It is the oldest secret I have ever kept. Hint: it rhymes with the Muslim name a former center for the LA Lakers, famous for his ‘sky hook’ took when he converted to Islam.  
A friend in college encouraged me to try TM to calm my busy mind.  He went on to become a devotee of his guru. His name was changed. He rose through the organizational ranks to become an executive administrator of the ashram.  He left after ten years. Maybe his hips gave out.  He moved to San Jose, 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 also had to sift through 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 Fit-bit 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 a lot of her friends were using an app called Headspace. 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 ear-buds, wondering why the left one fit better than the right. Was ear canal size so different? Did I have an ear infection? Should I call my doctor or just wait and see? I tapped the screen. My journey began. 
First, a short introductory video with pleasant, pastel species- and gender-neutral animations. I tapped the screen again.  The voice of
my Headspace navigator! British accent!  Unlike GPS there had been no option menu from which to choose a preferred accent.  His voice had a pleasant, non-breathy, non-pervy timbre.
The instructions are simple.  No judgment.  You sit comfortably, take some deep breaths, close your eyes, scan your body, set an intention, breathe, go back to the breath if you wander, count the breaths if you need more focus, and after 10-15 minutes slowly open your eyes.  Headspace is a mantra-fee space but the intention-setting provides a similar focus.  The first ten meditation sessions are free, then you can re-up monthly, yearly or forever.  Forever costs $339.  If I were younger it would be a bargain.
Setbacks happen.  The first wobble of my novitiate practice came after I inadvertently saw a picture of the founder and voice of Headspace.  At first glance, he looked like the as-yet-unindicted possible election-meddler and Russian pawn Carter Page. After that it was a few rocky sessions battling apocalyptic thoughts of the rogue microwave in my kitchen, earbuds as deep surveillance, hydraulic malfunctions in Sarah Huckabee-Sanders’ left eyebrow and on and on.  It is as close as I ever want to get to the horrors of Virtual Reality.  Breathe.
After three weeks of daily morning practice, my mind feels less busy.  Coincidentally I have not been scanning the heart-breaking morning news headlines one minute after opening my eyes.
Each morning I set my intention for peace on earth.