Day 5 meditation, which may be the last daily entry on the subject. I said to myself, at the beginning, that I'd do this for 5 days, to see what happened, and here we are.
20 minutes again this morning, although my computer beeped somewhere around 18 minutes (low battery) which again made the final 2 minutes difficult. I had the momentary fears of being lost in time again, near the beginning and near the end, but if I just sit through them, then all is well. At the end I found myself wanting more time, so that's a good sign.
I counted my breaths, same as yesterday. But whereas I finished yesterday realising that I should be having the lightest touch on my breathing, this time I went into the time with that awareness... which made the exercise a lot harder. One thing I noticed is that I have a tendency to count a rhythm and have my breaths follow that. Instead I should be letting myself breathe, and counting the breaths almost incidentally. Also it's easy to fool myself into thinking I'm on the right path, and actually I'm just obsessing (uh, about breath counting, but possibly also in general).
It was when I gave up on the counting, near the end ("Count? Don't count. Whatever") that it came together. No actual progress towards just observing my body do its body stuff, but it felt more right.
Another observation: There're a lot of thoughts bubbling away in my mind, even when I'm counting and really looking at my breathing. One thing that seems to help is to not explicitly ignore the sounds from around me. When my mind does drift, it's quite good to have the hum of the radiator there for it to latch onto, instead of churning away about what my plans are for the day.
I'm going to carry on trying to meditate (20 minutes again tomorrow, and longer soon, I hope). It has been fruitful so far, and I find it reassuring that - like a good stretch - it rewards discipline, the ignoring of literal and metaphorical itches, and introspection (afterwards, at least). If I also become relaxed, that's a bonus, but not the goal. As for what the real goal is, I've no idea--I'm just curious.
My posts about meditation won't stop completely. If my practice or experience changes much, I'll definitely say (equally, I'll make an effort to say if - and why - I stop. It's rare for me to sustain an interest in anything for over a week, but I'm going to give it a go). I'm finding this dive fascinating, and the advice and comments in email and IM have been really good, and a pleasure to read and respond to. Thanks all.