I woke up a while back to the sound of ticking. Not a big sound, a little sound. Tick, tick, tick.

My first sleepy thought was, “I should get rid of that clock. I don’t need more things to ruin my sleep.”

My second sleepy thought was, “I don’t have a clock.”

From sleepy to heart-racing in two seconds. My thoughts went like this: there’s a ticking noise. I don’t own a clock. It must be a bomb. There’s a bomb in my bedroom. Someone must have stolen into my room and planted a bomb under my bed. They want to blow me up because… nope. That’s silly. There’s no reason anyone would want to blow me up.

Okay, then it’s not a bomb. It must be a watch. A loud watch. Okay, someone’s standing in my room watching me sleep and wearing a watch. A burglar? Would you wear a watch to burgle people’s houses? Maybe if you need to time things, like your getaway, like getting in and out of the house.

You’d think they’d use a quieter watch, though. Like why not an iWatch or one of those smart watches that you could also communicate with your lookout with? Although if you could afford an Apple watch, you probably wouldn’t need to burgle my house. There’s really not much to get here. I could see being robbed by a junkie, I guess (do people use that word anymore?), who was desperate for anything he could get…

Tick, tick, tick

Although if it was a burglar, wouldn’t they get on with the burgling? Why just stand there? Also, two dogs… wouldn’t one of them make some noise if a stranger was standing in my room? I can make them go ballistic by setting my coffee cup down a little too hard, how are they sleeping through an unknown person wandering around the house?

Finally I opened my eyes. My fan was on. The tick was the cord, very gently banging on the base.

I find this to be a cautionary tale about my own tendency to jump to worst possible conclusions. Lately, whenever my brain gets stuck worrying about something I can’t control, I remind myself that it’s probably not a bomb. It’s surprisingly helpful!

Anyway, I was reminded of it this morning because I was meditating and I could hear the fan ticking away. I’ve been trying to meditate every day, slowly increasing the time I spend at it. I’d like to get up to a serious number — 30 minutes, maybe? — but at the moment, I’m stuck at 15. Usually, my last couple minutes of meditation isn’t meditating so much as it is wondering if I remembered to set a timer, before finally asking Alexa how much time is left. The last few days I’ve gotten that number down to seconds — yesterday I think it was fifteen of them! — but until I’ve made it to the end without asking several times, I know I’m not ready to bump up the number.

But I really like meditating. Six months I would have said (like probably almost everyone reading!), “Oh, I can’t meditate, my brain just never shuts up.” But someone told me that prayer is talking to God, meditating is listening, and when I think of meditating as listening, the experience becomes… well, I think what it’s supposed to be. My brain still doesn’t shut up, and I have in fact, gotten so distracted by it that I’ve totally forgotten that I was supposed to be meditating until the timer goes off and I realize, oops, I picked up the computer or whatever. And the dogs can be seriously distracting. They think me sitting up with my eyes closed, doing nothing but breathing, either means that I am in need of snuggles or that my hands should be busy petting them.

But some of the time, concentrating on listening, feeling my breath, and trying to exist only in the moment I’m in results in a calm that feels sustaining. And every once in a while, it’s something even more than that. I suspect it’s something like runner’s high or a flow state, but it’s an amazing sense of well-being and joy. I’ve only had it a few times, but it is well worth the fifteen minutes (soon to be twenty I hope) that I give it every morning.