Even after years of practice, I still find it hard sometimes to sit in silence and meditate. Especially when I have important work to do. Then I keep thinking about how many more minutes it will take for my alarm to go off so that I can go back to work.
But today during meditation, a new mindset came over me—a mindset sub specie aeternitatis1 that quickly made my workaholic worries go away. Here it is in a nutshell:
The alarm is never going to go off. I will be sitting here for all eternity, and I have to accept that.
This thought, though somewhat scary, calmed me down instantly. Meditation is not a chore to wait out and get over with. It is an immersion in eternity.
In a sense, that mindset is based on a lie: of course the alarm is going to go off, and of course I won’t be sitting there for all eternity. Yet in another sense, it is based on truth: for the experience of the present moment is timeless, hence my sitting is eternal; the future exists only in my mind, not in reality.
But truth or not, that’s secondary. What matters is the mindset and how it affects my thinking mind. If I feel stressed while sitting down to meditate, I will from now on always tell myself, “The alarm is never going to go off. I will be sitting here for all eternity, so I might as well experience it fully and thus—enjoy it.”