Just Sit and Do It – dare we say “meditate”?
“If you ask why we meditate, I would say it’s so we can become more flexible and tolerant to the present moment.” ~ Pema Chodron
Ah, meditation. It can be so daunting. Keep in mind that you do not need to spend a lot of money, or get stuck in any one practice type. I have been at it for many years and I choose each day what practice to do: Sometimes I just Sit, sometimes I use breath techniques and sometimes I use mantra and sometimes I tune in to One or another of my favorite teachers (Sally Kempton on YogaGlo site for one). It’s all good.
If you want to purify your nervous system, get some really exceptional clarity to carry with you all day AND learn to avoid “crimes against wisdom” then …….
But! you say, I do not have time and it is all too perplexing.
The Buddhist saying goes, “Everyone should meditate for at least 10 minutes a day. Those who are too busy, should meditate for an hour.”
My reaction to the idea that there is one “right ” way to meditate is – – Bah! There are as many ways to meditate and get benefits as there are fingerprints. Just breathe, repeat a Mantra (words that anchor), Breathing techniques… there are many paths but one intention and that is to bring some calm to your being, some energy to your heart and brain!
I say: Try a few types and settle on one. For now, here is an easy way to get started. Try for 10 minutes a day and build up if you wish.
Set up Your Practice Space
It doesn’t have to be a special place (though it can be– I have “sit” in my closet with my favorite Buddha, on a pillow I have had for 15 years.) It just has to be a place where you can shut the door and be out of reach for ten minutes.
My kids and husband know that in the morning when the door is closed I am meditating. they never bother me. The dogs always join me. Just the act of setting up this space can create benefit!
Use a Timer
I use my cell phone and an app called “Insight Timer”.
Schedule it and Make it a Habit
Pick a time of day every day when you are most likely to consistently sit. Morning meditation does feel very different from afternoon or evening. So experiment! It’s all good. Once it’s a habit you will not feel good unless you have done it.
How to Sit
Sitting is preferable – spine straight, chin slightly back and angled slightly down. this facilitates opening of the body and mind. If it is difficult to sit then lie down or prop up against a wall if that feels better. No sleeping. No sleeping. this is psychic sleep when the mind remains fully awake and aware but the chatter of thoughts recedes.
Close Your Eyes and Scan the Body
Feel the shift in perception when you close your eyes. Take a “look” around inside your body. Move from your toes up through your body – inside and out. Move up the arms, the lungs, shoulders, collar bones, face, scalp, eyes and relax it all. Notice any tension in the body and let it go on each exhale. Keep the tiny sense of a smile. Studies show it releases tension and creates a sensation of happiness.
Just Breath: Inhale, Exhale through the Nostrils
Feel the air cool as it enters the nostrils on the inhale and slightly warmer on the exhale. Notice the belly rise and fall with each breath and the lungs filling and emptying. Your mind will wander, so when it does, acknowledge those thoughts by labeling them without attachment either with an emotion like confusion, fear, anger, happiness or with an action like work, family, social life. Whatever it is, let it be a distant thing and let it go and return to the breath.
Set an Intention:
What you think you are is what you are. Each time you sit, set some intention about this practice. Maybe as simple as being kinder to yourself. Maybe a short term goal. Maybe something you are hoping to bring into your life, your relationships etc. Whatever it is state it simply and clearly in the affirmative and repeat it 3 times to yourself.
Keep at it for 10 minutes (or more.)
When your 10 minutes (or more) is up:
Keep the eyes closed and just sit for an extra breath or two. Offer up some kind words to yourself. Transitions are important!
Take Stock before you get up
In many ways the most important part of sitting with yourself is acknowledging what it felt like before, during, and after. Repeat the intention you set at the beginning. Be grateful to yourself for taking the time and thankful for having the time to do it. Developing the grateful and thankful habits of mind will change your thinking and will change your life across the board. Gratitude is a habit within a habit.
Do it with love. Do not be scared. Have Fun. Enjoy the play.
PS. here is some really good news: the more you Just Sit, the less likely you are to “commit crimes against wisdom” – (Pragya-Aparadh in Sanskrit). You will have trained yourself not to listen to those little demons trying to tell you that you do not have time, cannot do it, etc. You will know you can!