I've now completed two weeks of my primordial sound meditation practice.
Apparently, it takes 21 days (or 3 weeks) to form a habit, so when I signed up for the course, I committed to meditate at least once a day for 30 minutes, for at least 3 weeks.
Ideally, one is meant to meditate for 30 minutes, twice a day. The best time to meditate is early in the morning, before the sun has come up and woken your brain up.
Unfortunately, S has not been sleeping so well, and in order to meditate before she is up, I would have to get up at around 4am lately. And that's not happening. So I've been meditating in the evenings after she goes to bed, and on days when she's napped at home, I've meditated then too.
So what is primordial sound meditation, and how is it different from other forms of meditation?
These days there are a lot of guided meditations about; you sit and listen to some calming music while someone with a lovely soft voice talks you through relaxing your body, feeling happy or suchlike. Or perhaps you listen to some calming music while you think a particular happy or positive mantra or something.
With primordial sound meditation, the whole point is not to think. So you have a mantra, but it's deliberately meaningless. The idea is not to empty your mind so much as to notice the calm that is already there; to experience the gap between your thoughts.
All meditation is good for you, and all meditation can bring all sorts of benefits if practised regularly. I like primordial sound meditation because it's easy. I don't need a book or a dvd or a CD; I can do it anywhere. I use an app on my phone called Insight Timer to time my meditations, but that's just for convenience.
As I mentioned in this previous post, sitting down to meditate does inevitably cause the brain to go into overdrive. Anandi says the mind is like a "naughty puppy" that doesn't want to sit still; it comes up with anything and everything to make you stop meditating. It can be difficult to stick at it when your brain is busy reminding you of everything you've ever forgotten to do; it feels like perhaps you're just not able to meditate. I'm two weeks in, and I had such a hard time meditating yesterday morning, I didn't meditate in the evening at all. Today though, I reminded myself that I had signed up for three weeks, and I had better sit down and get on with it; and actually, it was a lot easier.
Primordial sound meditation, and the online course I have been following, doesn't make any outlandish promises of everlasting inner peace or transcendent states. Anandi quite openly says in one of the videos that you might never achieve "enlightenment" in this lifetime, and that meditation really is just "mantra-mantra-thought-mantra-gap-thought-mantra-thought-mantra." The idea (in my opinion) is that over time, your brain learns to shut up reciting your to-do list, and you have more mantra and gap, and less thought.
And with quieting the mind, over time you experience other benefits. I can safely say that, after a week of toddler teething, neighbourhood noise, lack of sleep, family stress and Christmas, I am handling life a lot better than one would expect. I am also a lot less interested in chocolate than I have ever been in my life, and more interested in fresh foods. Which is very weird, because it's Christmas, and my house is full of chocolate and cake and cream and I'm there munching on a raw carrot.
I don't get up from a meditation feeling enlightened or anything; several times lately, I've been almost falling asleep whilst meditating, and got up from it feeling decidedly groggy. I'm struggling with my thoughts a lot, especially the fact that you're not meant to tie the mantra to anything. It has no meaning, and you're not meant to link it to any rhythm or to your breathing. Of course, the minute you're told not to link it to your breathing, you become hyper-aware of your breathing and begin deliberately delaying your breath or the mantra so that they don't begin at the same time... which is the same as having them begin at the same time really, and completely not the point of it all. At the moment I'm working on that. There's not a lot I can do about the falling asleep, apart from pray that the people around here run out of money for booze and drugs, and that S's teething calms down a little. And over time, without having that startling feeling of "yes! I have meditated and I feel fantastic!" I actually do feel pretty good! I'm planning to continue after the 3 weeks finishes...