For a few weeks now, I have been doing sitting meditation as part of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course that I have been completing.

I expected to have trouble sitting still.

I do.

I expected to be distracted by noises, thoughts, and sensations.

I do.

I expected to be bored at times.

I do.

What I didn’t expect was the small bits of anxiety triggered by stillness and silence. The meditation I do is guided, meaning that I listen to a 32 minute long audio file. However, as the meditation goes along, there are periods of silence, which seem to get increasingly longer. There are two spots in particular, somewhere past the 20 minute mark. Even as recently as two days ago, I opened my eyes, figuring that the audio had gone off on my smart phone. It hadn’t. It was just silence. And the silence passed. Then the voice came back on.

Today, I made an intention at the beginning of the meditation not to check for operating difficulties with my phone and to just treat the silence as if it belonged. By sitting with my anxiety and impatience, I learned that they went away by themselves without my having to do anything.

Another thing I have observed during sitting meditation is that I stop feeling certain physical sensations. This is natural, and in psychology, it is referred to as habituation. Sensory experiences fade when they are constant after a time. For example, when I visited Venice, I only noticed the city’s infamous sulfur scent for the first twenty minutes right after I awoke each morning. Then my perception of it was gone until the next day.

I meditate with my hands clasped on my lap. Today, after 20/25 minutes, I noticed that I could not tell if my hands were touching one another. It was almost like they were asleep except that they weren’t. In the past, I have moved my fingers slightly and I can feel again. There is something vaguely anxiety provoking about not being able to sense my own body. I don’t know if this is related to the vague unease caused by the numbness on my torso from multiple surgeries. My sensation is returning rather slowly over the years. It still doesn’t feel right to feel less.

Today, instead of moving my fingers, I just observed the numbness and my anxiety lessened. I have also observed itch and it has decreased.

I am so grateful for these small experiences, the lessons that most problems are not really problems, and much discomfort subsides if I don’t do anything to it, it I just let it run its natural course.

Stillness has a way of seeming like a problem because I am a person who yearns for feedback on my actions. But sometimes a still moment is just that and perhaps in time, even when unexpected, something to savor or just let be.