Practice, and all is coming

Something I am working on: meditation.

It is hard to get up earlier than early, but on the days my mind takes control over my body, I rouse from the warm sheets and sit outside and listen for my breath, for the world to wake up. I am assuredly a happier, calmer, more pleasant person on the days I meditate. My goal is twice per day.

old zen saying

A couple of years ago, I went to a yoga teacher training and we were taught meditation. In fact, the yoga poses were a precursor to meditation, everything we did led up to the 30 to 60 minutes of meditation we did each session. Asanas to calm the body so it can sit still and focus on breath and the present. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done–sitting still while I wanted to lie down and go back to sleep, or look around at the French trees, or just ponder my life and my plans for travel once the training was over. Some days I was successful, most days I was not. But I was lucky to have that highly disciplined meditation training, because it enables me to fall back on those patterns today, when life is no where near as spiritual and quiet as it was then. Meditation is the ultimate example of action within inaction.

If you’re just beginning on your meditation practice, I suggest you start with five minutes. Or two, and work up to five. Set an alarm if you must. Stretch your body before sitting down, so you won’t be tempted to wiggle. Sit comfortably, but not too comfortably–sit on a pillow, or the ground (no soft chairs, lest you get too relaxed). Find a relatively quiet spot. Do not think about how much time is left in your sitting–focus on your inhalations, your exhalations. If your mind wanders, do not give up, notice, and move back to your breath. Feel the calm energy it brings to your mind and your body, even if it is only short instances of focus. The goal is to think about nothing, but this is much easier said than done.

Practice, and all is coming. After you master five minutes of meditation, move on to 10 or 15. It does wonders for my spirit and soul.

And maybe I’m biased, but I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t benefit from meditation.

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