I have to make a confession. When I read all the stories of how much happier people feel because they are meditating regularly, I sometimes feel frustrated. It’s been a year now that I have downloaded the Black Lotus App and started to use it to build up a regular meditation practice.
But to tell you the truth, I haven’t become that much happier. I do, however, meditate regularly and intensely meanwhile which is a big difference compared to what my “practice” – if you can call that a practice at all – used to look like the years before.
I have meditated up to an hour per day during the last year, additionally to my daily yoga practice and may I say I am quite a disciplined person. I have been pondering if I might have been doing things wrongly, checking out all the possible pitfalls and mistakes on meditation, yet I think I am actually doing quite well. I can also tell by the durance and concentration I am able to maintain meanwhile. I may have become slightly calmer however.
Yet there is another thing that is celebrating its 1st anniversary: The COVID pandemics. I work in healthcare and this has been one of the toughest years of my entire life. I have met people who got infected with SARS-CoV2, some quite seriously some mildly, people who still suffer from the long COVID syndrome, people who denied that there is a pandemic at all and got tied up in all sorts of conspiracy theories that messed with their minds.
I met people who lost their jobs and went bankrupt due to lockdown measures, people who had to take care of severe COVID cases and saw people dying from oxygen deficiency every day. My parents are very old and are currently facing a mortality risk of 10% here in the middle of Europe. A friend of mine was sent to hospital and had to be ventilated for a couple of weeks. I was constantly worried that I might infect one of my patients although I took the pandemic measures very seriously.
I found myself torn between people in total disbelieve and people who were in fear and panic about the virus, trying to calm everyone down and help resolve conflicts as best as I could. And just when the vaccine was announced to finally be ready to end the chaos the virus started to mutate, develop the first immune escapes, the vaccines ran short just before they were even ready to be given out to people… It all seems like a desperate race… We humans are so incredibly intelligent and inventive and yet we are such a fragile species.
So, no, in all sincerity, I am not extraordinarily happy at the moment but I am still quite ok. Maybe this has not been the best time to find out if meditation makes me a happier and calmer person. And who knows how I would feel after this year if I had not meditated at all. Sometimes the best possible goal you can achieve might be to stay stable in the middle of chaos. And I may not have been the worst at this.
I truly hope that we will all get through this and come out stronger and wiser from this crisis. I hope this crisis has made people realise how fragile we are and how important it is to be kind and caring to one another.