If you want to make a change in your life, be happier or healthier, roll with the punches more, or maybe you’ve lost everything and there’s nothing left to do but change, meditation is a good place to start. You really don’t have to do much. You can begin by committing to five minutes of meditation every morning. It doesn’t seem like much, but it will be.
Meditation is about being present. The most loving thing you can do for your brothers and sisters is be present for them. You spend a little time every day getting quiet and feeling the moment at hand, allowing yourself to feel what it’s like to be in your body, in your mind, in your room, in your city, in the world, so that you can apply your practice to your life. It’s about being mindful and accepting of everything that comes through. It’s about disregarding labels—there are no good thoughts or bad thoughts, there are only thoughts; it’s about not punishing or rewarding yourself for your actions, but simply being aware of your actions.
You will find that the struggles that you encounter and overcome in your meditation practice apply to the rest of your life. It’s important to spend time emptying your mind because there is way too much stuff in there. You need to get rid of all the clamor and rabble so you can hear what’s really going on in the universe. Getting quiet takes practice, and I’m no expert so don’t take it from me. You will have to find out for yourself.
Find a place where you feel comfortable and sit either cross-legged, in lotus, or upright in a chair. Take your time to get settled and to relax; close your eyes and your mouth. Bring your attention to your feet. Notice how they feel on the ground or folded in your lap. Are they warm or cold? Is there any tingling? Allow them to relax. Move to your ankles, noticing any sensations and allowing them to relax. Move up your body in this way, noticing and relaxing—calves, knees, thighs, hips, stomach, chest, shoulders, fingers, hands, arms, shoulders, neck, face, scalp. Take your time experiencing what’s happening with your body from moment to moment.
Next, bring your attention to the nostrils, where the breath comes and goes. Notice your breath, shallow or deep, cool or warm, fast or slow. Don’t force it, just observe. For the remainder of the meditation, hold your focus here. If you catch yourself thinking about something, label the thought “thinking”, gently let go of it, and return to the breath. You might have to do this every other moment, and that’s okay. Just keep returning to focus on the breath. Be loving towards yourself; don’t scold yourself for becoming distracted or anxious. Instead, acknowledge the anxiety (you might say in your head “that’s anxiety”), let it go and return to the breath.
If you live in a noisy city, or there’s a crying baby in the next room, or the phone won’t stop ringing, don’t worry about it. You don’t need silence to meditate correctly. What you need is to be able to accept the moment as it is handed to you. Be present for every part of that moment, not excluding any sound, smell or sensation.
I would love to hear how this goes for you, any meditation strategies that you really like, or any questions or comments!
Peace and blessings,