15 Minutes of Endurance

“Uh-oh.” After I had started my meditation timer, I realized sitting cross-legged wasn’t ideal. I had already spent a good amount of time in that position, and my legs and knees felt uncomfortable.

At first, I was tempted to change position. Sometimes, I do sit with my legs extended straight or put my hands on my hips instead of folding them in my lap. But then I realized: That’s also what meditation is about. It’s not just the relaxing kind of letting go that matters. Accepting pain is important too.

“Can you endure 15 minutes of sitting in a not-so-comfortable position? I think you can,” I told myself. And endure is what I did.

The world has become a place where, for every hint of suffering, a band-aid is easily available. But just because you patch it up immediately does not mean that, underneath the thin layer of protection, your wound isn’t still bleeding. You can distract yourself from your loneliness with Instagram, but that won’t make your loneliness go away.

Sitting in silence for 15 minutes, however, will show you that being lonely isn’t so bad. It’s survivable, just like accidentally cutting yourself while cooking, being single in your 30s, or making a big mistake at work.

Don’t run for the hills when you feel a pang of disappointment, back pain, or jealousy. Sit with it. In it. Turn 5 seconds of pain into 15 minutes of endurance, and the next time the world will try to shake you, you’ll remain firmly in your saddle, riding on through the desert as if the sand storm is nothing more than a breeze.