science of us

I’m Going to Meditate This Weekend If It Kills Me

Photo: PeopleImages/Getty Images/iStockphoto

I’ve said this before, but I mean it this time: I am going to take 20 minutes this weekend and meditate my ass off. I’m not happy about it, because I’ve tried meditation before, and I’m pretty sure it doesn’t work on me. I downloaded Headspace but I don’t like that guy’s voice (or any male voice, haha, only joking). I tried other meditation apps, too, but they’re all too bossy, and I find myself resenting them for their smugness, and how much money they are making to tell me to breathe. If meditation is going to work for me (and I’m still not sure it will), it will have to be in silence.

If peer pressure works like a bell curve where the X-axis is the amount of pressure you feel, and the Y-axis is the number of peers applying pressure (I think this is accurate), we are currently facing peak meditation pressure. According to a new report based on data from the 2017 National Health Interview Survey, 14.2 percent of Americans surveyed meditated last year, as compared to only 4.1 percent in 2012 — 4.1 percent is totally ignorable, 14.2 percent is just high enough. If meditation ever reaches, say, 40 percent participation, it’ll be so popular it’s actually uncool. If I’m gonna get into meditation, I have to do it now.

Part of the reason I don’t want to do this is because I can always find a better use for any given 20-minute period than “doing nothing.” TV, for instance. Having a snack. Sex, if anyone my age ever had sex, even once. But I am also reading a self-help book right now (for WORK), and I find myself increasingly, involuntarily persuaded by the author’s maniacally optimistic take on meditation. Maybe I really do need to create space for the Universe to speak to me? I don’t know. I think my biggest meditation challenge, besides thinking it is sort of stupid, is that I cannot sit still, but maybe if I make meditation into a chore…? Okay, I’m putting it in my calendar right now. I’m going to meditate this weekend and on Monday you won’t even recognize me.

I’m Going to Meditate This Weekend If It Kills Me