Zen Buddhism lends most of its purpose towards finding enlightenment through mediation. That, with a fun mixture of traditional Buddhism mixed with a minty hint of Taoism, but that’s an entirely different post for another day. My point is, for several decades, meditation has been a focal point of my existence. Have I ever met someone who has “attained enlightenment?” No, I have not. In fact, with the exception of my studies of the Gautama Buddha, I’m not necessarily aware of anyone who has ACTUALLY achieved enlightenment through the practice of meditation.
Admittedly, that first paragraph is a bit on the cynical side, as I do genuinely believe that the path to enlightenment resides within myself. One of the only ways to try and find it is through meditation. But for the most part, I’ve used meditation for everything from blocking out pain and fatigue, focusing my mind, improving accuracy during shooting or fighting and lowering my blood pressure and/or heart rate in the hopes of calming myself. Given that I have pleasant soup bowl of ADD, OCD and PTSD buried in my psyche, meditation has been helpful in a number of different ways.
I’ve always been a big proponent of encouraging people to meditate wherever they find a spot to sit and whenever they find a minute. Any meditation is better than no meditation, right? Maybe not… Distraction is one of the biggest obstacles to effective meditation. That’s why it’s always better to try and observe the practice in a quiet atmosphere with nothing but a touch of soft, instrumental music playing. Although one should be able to clear one’s mind and find some way to take a few moments to deepen one’s breathing and meditate, there’s one obstacle that is and inherent distraction and makes meditation difficult at best: having kids.
Children can be a wondrous addition to a household and will undoubtedly add some action and excitement to one’s life. I can definitely admit that Nathan is like a spinning Tasmanian devil from a Looney Toons cartoon on the best of days, and he’s gotten quite good at riling up his one year old brother, Alex. This can make for an extremely difficult environment to meditate in, regardless of how your home is laid out. I often tell Nathan that it’s quiet time, but this only works on a six-year old for so long, and that tactic absolutely does not work on an infant. So, what do you do?
Since the demolishment of my basement, the ability for sound to travel through the floor has more than doubled, meaning someone upstairs will hear everything happening downstairs and vice versa. So despite the lovely floor mats and workout area I’ve installed in my bare basement, I can pretty much hear every peep and bump that goes on above my head. I often try to meditate for at least fifteen minutes after every workout in order to centre myself, lower my heart rate and calm myself. But I’m usually unsuccessful.
So, what can you do? There are a number of options that are available. The first and most obvious, would be to wait until the children are sleeping/out of the house. This was much easier before Nathan’s school shut down due to COVID-19, but having him out of the house for the day while Alex naps would allow for a period of time to meditate. Realistically, sometimes your schedule simply needs to work around your children as opposed to in spite of them.
Another simple alternative is to simply leave the house. Meditating outside is a little difficult during the winter months, but there are other options. Space heaters in the garage will allow you to meditate there, albeit for a short time. There’s also nothing wrong with simply sitting in your vehicle and taking a short period to meditate there. You could even drive to another location and park, so long as you don’t mind people wondering what the hell you’re doing or the occasional officer of the law tapping on your window to inquire if you’re okay.
We surrender a lot and sacrifice everything once we have children. This is simply the reality of adult life. But if meditation is an important practice in your existence, than you should work towards finding ways on order to achieve it, no matter what your home circumstances. Especially if you use it as a tool for balancing your mind and body. Suddenly and indefinitely going without it can alter your mood, temperament and even your body chemistry. ☯