Things I’d Rather Meditate About

If you’ve ever done a guided meditation, you’ve probably noticed that the meditation leaders (is that what they’re called? Do those people have an official title?) encourage the listeners to focus their minds on positive, calming things. Typically, you’re supposed to repeat affirmations in your head, or think about the places where you feel safe and happy.  Oftentimes, they ask you to reflect on what you’re grateful for in your life.

That’s all well and good. It’s good to be grateful. It’s good to focus on the things that are going well in my life. It’s good to have a positive attitude.

It’s good.

It’s also a bit of a snooze fest.

During a typical day, we use up 92.7% of our brain power* thinking about plenty of stuff that we don’t really want to think about – bills, paperwork, rogue political candidates, etc. So, if we’re going to use the remaining 7.3% of our mental energy* on meditating, on just sitting still and focusing our minds on something, then that something should be really good, right? Things that make us glad to be alive. Stuff that brings us genuine comfort, or puts a smile on our faces.

*made up statistics

These are the kinds of things I’d rather meditate about:

  1. The smell, sight, and taste of chocolate. Candy bars. Cookies. Ice cream. Brownies. I feel calm already.
  1. The sensation of having my back scratched, or my hair washed.
  1. My own private island: Weather that’s warm enough for swimming, but isn’t too hot. Crystal-clear water. A chimpanzee with bartending skills. A hammock to lie in, but not the kind where your elbow or knee falls through the hole and you get stuck.
  1. What it’d feel like to sink into a bathtub filled with warm mashed potatoes. You heard me.
  1. Sam and Dean Winchester.
  1. The inner peace that washes over me when I walk into a used book store and find that they have a large clearance section.
  1. The delightful, if foolish, idea of Tina Fey discovering my blog, becoming a huge fan of my weird posts, and offering me a job.
  1. The feeling of slipping under a thick, warm comforter on a cold winter night.
  1. The utter joy of being locked in a room with 19 baby corgis.

meditate2

I asked the people I know to try meditating about the things that bring them joy in their lives, be they attractive celebrities, the sound of children’s laughter, or the smell of sharpies. No judgment here. Then, I asked the “meditators” to share with me their personal results from this challenge.

These are actual testimonies from the meditation participants:

“Five minutes of meditating about kittens cured my adult acne forever!” – best friend

“I no longer have kidney disease!” – relative

“My spouse stopped cheating on me, and we’re no longer getting a divorce!” – boss

Do you meditate when you need to de-stress or improve your mood? If you were to liven up your meditations, what sorts of things would you think about? Even if you don’t meditate, what kinds of things would you reflect on if you did?

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26 thoughts on “Things I’d Rather Meditate About

    1. I can’t do the longer guided meditations. I lose focus, and then get mad at myself for losing focus, and then I just give up. But I have the Calm App on my phone, and it has 3- and 5-minute ones. Those I can tolerate much more easily.

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      1. I’ll have to look into that. I was doing acupuncture for a while when my fibromyalgia was acting up and the acupuncturist recommended meditation to reduce stress. Then I’d have to find the time to do it and it would never work and I’d be like “how long have I been sitting here?” “When is this going to start happening?” and I’d end up more stressed than I was when I started out!

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      2. Yeah, it sucks when you can’t get your brain to shut up haha. That’s what I like about guided meditations though – they tell you to focus on your breathing, your body, etc – so there’s less “free time” for your mind to wander.

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  1. Roy Keith

    Points of meditation:
    1. Chocolate, keeps me focused and gives me acne, but it works!
    2. Loved ones.
    3. Fresh plowed fields, the smell is amazing!
    4. Bread, fresh from the oven, rolls, loans, biscuits, etc.
    5. Eagles flying, the feeling of limitless space and freely wandering.
    6. The smell of a really aromatic pipe tobacco.
    7. Scotch. Smokey. Aromatic.
    8. Cognac. Candy in a snifter.

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  2. I have never been able to meditate. I’ve probably never tried hard enough… but I can’t seem to get to whatever that meditation place is. So then I get anxious that I can’t meditate… which makes it even harder. I’m not sure what to think about… which I’m sure is also a problem. 😀 I’m not trying to sound as pathetic as I know this will sound… but things are not going especially well in my life right now so I’m having a genuinely difficult time coming up with things to think about that don’t upset or stress me out!

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    1. I think difficulty with meditating is probably a super common thing. I too get really distracted during them, and then I get annoyed with myself for my wandering mind, and it seems to go downhill from there. But I’ve realized it doesn’t work to wait until I’m already anxious before doing it. It seems to go better when I try it already in a relatively calm state. I’ve also downloaded the Calm App, and you can do just 3-minute meditations on those, which I find way more tolerable than the longer ones.

      I’m sorry that you’re experiencing this right now. It’s exhausting, emotionally and even physically, when you feel like you’re having to drag yourself through the day and there doesn’t seem to be anything to look forward to. Even if you can’t think about anything that makes you happy right now, can you think of stuff that has put a smile on your face in the past? Specific smells from your childhood? Certain sounds?

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      1. Funny you should mention that — smells from my childhood. My mom used to wear a particular perfume when I was little… and the scent always reminds me of her. I’ve often wanted to buy it – not to wear, just to smell it sometimes. But it’s sort of a pricey perfume! I wonder if I should walk into Nordstrom and tell them I need it for medical reasons. Maybe they’ll give me some! LOL. Also funny — I’ve downloaded a few meditation apps. But for some reason I’ve never tried any of them! Also, thanks — you’re very kind….

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      2. Ha! Maybe if you brought a doctor’s note? 😉 If nothing else, maybe you could spray a sample on an old t-shirt or something for free. Then you could smell it until it fades, and then go back for more. (Then, when those people start to recognize you, you could go to a different store hehe.)

        It’s amazing how powerful scents can be for bringing back memories. For me, it’s sunscreen – it makes me think of being at the beach or going swimming as a kid. Instantly makes me happy.

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  3. Your corgi made many of us here melt. The German Shepherd though is jealous of the peace the Corgi is projecting. (He’s suspicious of anyone without butter)
    I haven’t been able to meditate for years, but I completely agree with you on the thrill of having Tina Fey as a fan of one’s blog! If I could meditate again though, I would meditate on gooey warm brownies with frosting, the smell of warm, homemade bread, sheets off the line that smell of sunshine, holding my boys when they were each babies, puppy breath and the sun on my face. Hmm, there’s a lot of smells in that list, isn’t there? Oh, the smell of old books too. Yeah, and markers, and a fresh box of crayons, can’t forget them. That’s the smell of childhood, right there.

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    1. Isn’t Zen Corgi wonderful? I wanted the perfect picture for this post, and I have to admit that it wasn’t exactly torture to scroll down endless photos of happy, sleepy, and sneezy corgis. I don’t blame your German though – I too am suspicious of anyone without butter! 😆

      Ahhhh, all of your suggestions are great! The homemade bread and fresh sheets in particular brought a feeling of instant calm over me. Smell is probably our most powerful sense when it comes to feelings of comfort and happiness. 🙂

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  4. Love this idea, especially because I’m always trying to get into meditation and it’s always boring me to death.

    These are good daydreams, though the Tina Fey thing would make me more excited than calm. A chimp serving drinks would be hilarious, but I would actually be nervous about him getting riled up and throwing whisky bottles everywhere. Maybe that’s just my worst-case-scenario mindset.

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    1. This is true about Tina Fey leading to feelings of excitement. Although, I suppose you can get from meditation what you need. If I’m frazzled and need calm, I’ll think about chocolate and islands; if I’m feeling bored, I’ll contemplate the Fey daydream (Feydream? Lol).

      If no drink-serving chimps, what would you want to meditate about?

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  5. Pingback: 7 Best Resources for Meditation – Amanda Robinson, LPC, RPT

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