I bought a meditation cushion called a Zafu years ago. To this day, it’s sitting in the trunk of my car. I’ve tried meditating while sitting on it in the past but found it distractingly uncomfortable. One could argue that breathing through this discomfort is part of the practice. But I reasoned that I breathe through enough discomfort in other areas of my life that I wasn’t keen on adding more.
When something is distractingly uncomfortable, I notice I tend to become very proficient at creating excuses not to do it consistently. One could say that the practice then should be noticing and working through those excuses.
But in this case, I chose not too.
In spite of my choices, I’m somebody who can really use meditation. My habitual pattern of coping with life is to get stressed easily by even the smallest problems. Since life is utterly teeming with small problems, and in fact, seems to have as many small problems as the Pacific Ocean has fish, I used to be frequently stressed from morning to night.
High stress became an ordinary part of my daily life. This pattern frequently caused me to make icebergs out of ice cubes, and to use the strength of Hercules to muscle open doors that were already unlocked. Basically, when I became stressed, I put my energy in all the wrong places, especially considering of my primary goals has been to live a relaxed and highly productive life.
Needless, to say I have extreme need of meditation, even though I choose not to do sitting meditation.
So for many years, what did I do? I avoided meditation.
But then somehow I woke up.
I mean one morning my alarm literally woke me up. I banged it off. Then I rolled on my side facing away from the alarm and just listened to myself breathe. Then the alarm went off again five minutes later, so I rolled to my other side, turned it off and just listened to myself breathe. until it went off again. I repeated this process until I felt ready to arise for the day.
Sometimes, I not only focus on my breath, but on sensations in my body. For example, if I feel pain in my right foot I take deep breaths and “breathe into it.” Some mornings, I chose to focus on noises I hear either inside or outside my apartment.
And yes, I often fall back to sleep during these five minute intervals between when my alarm goes off.
I have started to notice that doing this “Alarm Clock Meditation,” which I had discovered by chance, each morning helped me feel more relaxed, focused and stay on-track throughout the day.
I’m pleased to say this unlikely meditation has become a habit that I look forward to each morning. To me, it’s the bubble bath of meditations. I love to begin my day by focusing on my breath instead of the umpteen things I could be worried about.
To me, my consistency and enjoyment seem much more effective than thinking I should be doing sitting meditation, finding excuses and feeling guilty about not doing it, and all the becoming more stressed.
If you are inspired to try Alarm Clock Meditation, please let me know in the comments what you think of it.
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