I just meditated, following the advice of this video
on anapanasati. I haven't meditated in many months, perhaps even as long as a year.
It took me several minutes to get fully settled into what I was doing. When I finally began to meditate, I began to feel a sense of dread and despair, which seemed to grow, the deeper that I meditated. It was a peculiar experience, very different from typical anxiety. I have been very anxious in the past and still sometimes am anxious, so I have developed an intimacy with anxiety, so I know it very distinctly, as well as anger and depression. This was a feeling in the back of my chest cavity, behind my lungs and heart (whereas anxiety for me feels like a tightness of the heart and lungs), at the base of my neck. It felt like failure
. I think I felt the same way a year ago, on the last day that I got on my treadmill, I began to feel, "What if I can't keep this up? What if my will isn't strong enough? What if I give up (or have to give up)?" It also felt like a sense of excitement, a strong desire to get up and play the videogames I've been playing everyday. I mused on whether it might be some evil spirit, but let that thought go. Thinking, "This isn't my thought," helped a bit, yet still, it grew stronger. I felt as though -- and I've heard this advice before -- that bearing down and sitting through such an experience would make me stronger in the end. I felt as though perhaps I could win. I created a smell sense of joy and tried to grow it, to fight the dread, yet it continued.
Suddenly, I remembered that I needed to register for college, something I've been putting off, that I've been worrying I might never do because of my habit of procrastination. I didn't go to school this fall, because of such procrastination. Feeling that this memory was an accomplishment of my meditation, I decided to end it. I could have continued, but it would've been difficult, and I felt it was better to end it on a positive note -- that I had achieved the recollection of an important memory and summoned the motivation to carry out a rightful action -- than to face the possibility of continuing to face such misery, giving up, and then possibly being too upset with myself to register for school.
I'm not sure how long this went on for, because I checked the time beforehand but forgot to check the time afterwards. I started at 12:45, then hopped in the shower, remembered I forgot to check the time, and saw it was 1:30. I only have about 10 minutes of hot water because our hot water heater has been broken the last several months, so the meditation was somewhere between 10 or 20 minutes long.
After I finished, I felt the sense of meditative calm that I always felt when going to the local Zen temple: A sense of dispassion, impersonality, a sense of intelligence and rationality, a disillusionment with petty wants, and a feeling as though the connection between bodymind and self had been weakened, that this being would do what it must entirely on its own, and I would merely observe it from outside, in addition to the neutral feeling of pressure in my cranial cavity. Like always, this feeling quickly fades and I'm "normal" now.
I consider it a success and plan to continue this meditation, hopefully forever, although we all know that's never going to be true.
I think I will go to the Zen temple once a week again, though I'm unsure if I will attend their dharma talks, since I don't like the Zen monk very much.