How is your meditation practice going? Of the past 10 days, I think I have meditated six times. So, not each day, but significantly more than I have in the past. I’ve noticed that I’ve started to crave it.
I want to remind you to think about your breath. It is one of the easiest things to “think” of while you are meditating. It is something that happens without any sort of effort from you, and you can close your eyes and focus on the rise and fall, inhale and exhale, and notice how everything else melts away.
This is something you can practice throughout the day as well, even when you are not meditating. Bring your awareness into your body the next time you are driving, or in a stressful meeting. Can you notice when your body has become tense and your breath has become shorter? See if you can gently remind yourself to receive a fuller breath, relax your shoulders down, soften your face, maybe even wiggle your toes.
In my six out of ten times meditating this month, I have noticed that I have become much calmer. That is not to say that I have not been frequently agitated; but I do notice it and shake it off more quickly. What are you noticing?
The first professor I ever had in law school told us that to be successful, we had to remember four words: “Apply A** to Chair.” (I’ll give you a hint and tell you that the 2nd word is not “art.”) What he meant was that you can’t accomplish anything until you sit down and put your mind to it.
So that’s our first step: sit! There is such thing as a walking meditation, but the practice that we’ll be exploring over the next month is going to be a sitting meditation. You can sit just about anywhere that gives you some time alone to quiet yourself. But I don’t recommend reclining because you might fall asleep!
Let’s make this our first assignment. Scour your home and locate a quiet corner that you can make your own. Maybe you decide to shut your bedroom door and sit on a pillow in front of a candle. Maybe everyone has left for the day and you decide to sit quietly at your dinner table. Wherever the space is, make it somewhere that you will not be interrupted for five minutes. (That means leave the television off!) Take a comfortable seat and set a timer for five minutes. And just sit. Close your eyes, lengthen your spine, let your breath enter and exit your body, and focus on that.
During our time together, keep a journal with you and after your five minutes write down anything that comes up for you. How does your body feel? Do you want to sit somewhere different next time? What time of day is it? Maybe you want to try this at a different time of day to see if that feels any different to you. How do you feel? Calm, agitated, energized? I hope you’ll begin to look forward to these five minutes as much as I do.