Meditating: It's Not For Me

Why one woman feels more stressed out when she meditates

by Linda Yellin
woman meditating illustration
Photograph: Jootee Yoon

Over the years, it has often been suggested that someone like me would benefit from meditation. I suspect this has something to do with my nonstop foot tapping and finger drumming. My friend Adele insists that a mere 20 minutes of meditation every morning would clear my mind and provide deep happiness.

After doing a quick time-benefit analysis, weighing the 20 minutes of Morning Joe I’d miss, I still wasn’t convinced. But I signed up for a one-hour class anyway.

It began with a gong. I followed the teacher’s instructions to sit cross-legged, keep my posture straight and place my right hand in my left, palms up. Next, set my intention. Easy: to get Adele off my back.

First, I needed to be mindful of my breathing. In. Out. In. Out. I felt as if we’d been there for days. I peeked at my watch. Five minutes had passed.

I wondered where all these tranquil women had come from. I’d certainly never seen them at the Saks handbag sale. I also wondered where the lady in front of me had her hair cut, if I’d set my DVR for The Millionaire Matchmakerand whether there was a drugstore nearby.

It was time to come up with our personal mantras. None felt quite right.

Yi yi yiiiii.

Ha ha haaaa.

Jon Hammmmmmm.

I thought about my dinner options. Tuna sandwich? Pizza? Chicken? I chose pizza. I visualized myself on a mountaintop. I visualized myself on the bus home. Until, at last, the gong show ended.

I doubted I’d be back. Did I have any regrets? Yes—I decided I should probably have the chicken.

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First published in the July/August 2013 issue

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