How to achieve inner peace from the comfort of your couch


This is not how I look when I meditate.

The other night, I sat down for a brief meditation. I was feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders, too much to do at work and at home, my head spinning with obligations and what-ifs. I needed a few minutes to decompress.

I sat there, legs crossed on the couch, listening to the chatter in my head, plotting strategies at work, rehashing yesterday’s meeting. I sat there until I dropped into that place where, for just a few seconds, the talk recedes, and I can feel myself sitting on the couch, breathing.

In that space, on that night, I felt the enormity of the gift I have given myself.

All these years of sitting here trying to remember that I am breathing. All these years of not giving up.

I have stuck with meditation — even when it doesn’t make me feel good, even when I can’t get past the chatter, even when I wonder what the point of it all is. It took me probably a year of meditating before I felt, even once, a space open up in my internal dialogue. I have quit for weeks, months at a time, but I have always come back.

I have learned not to get embarrassed or defensive when my non-meditating husband mocks me (lovingly, of course): “Do you have inner peace now?” I have learned not to judge myself when the timer goes off and I realize I just spent my 15-minute “meditation” thinking about the tacos I’m going to make for dinner.

By many standards, I am a failure at meditation. I don’t have a special altar or meditation chamber, and I can’t sit in the lotus position. I don’t wear flowy clothing, or walk around blissed out and happy. I have not transcended human suffering. Most of the time, I still live in my head and forget all about the present moment.

Regardless, I am transformed. Simply by the knowledge that this place exists, where I am sitting on my couch, needing nothing but this breath.

This is how my dog looks when she meditates.

This is how my dog looks when she meditates.

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