We are busy, we are active and we perpetually lament there are not enough hours in the day. Many societies across the world are facing the transformative impact of the information age where a multitude of media streams pummel us with political, social, technical, scholarly, cultural and entertainment content and we are in part reveling in this access and recoiling. Stress levels are up and fatigue conditions are rising as we are subjected to the good and bad of this busyness, this incessant noise for action, this expectation of perpetual striving. All this, before or after, ‘care’ for each other and our respective family and communities. There is an irony inherent here, and that is, the necessity for busyness takes us further away from ourselves…further away from awareness, clarity and joy. The more we privilege action we move further away from our true nature, we lose the ability to truly ‘see’ where we should be acting, where we would be of most service and we become removed and isolated from our own voice, values and commitments.
This is exactly where meditation has a place.
Mediation simply asks you to stop.
Stop and revive your physical, neurological and spiritual centre.
Allow stillness in…feel the welcome as you give yourself permission to stop.
The experience of stillness is soothing, healing, liberating.
The old cliche, ‘to stop to smell the roses’ is meditation.
One approach to Meditation:
- Start with 10 minutes a day. You can build on this but it is more important to introduce a practice that is sustainable
- Enter into the meditation without expectation, without the striving that weaves itself into the action parts of your day. Your experience of meditation has no right and wrong.
- Sally Kempton asks us to enter meditation with a beginners mind, a mind that understands there is much to learn – this is a request for openness
- Move: Allow your body some physical movement, these may be asanas, but whatever movement comes to you: dance, touch your toes, flex each muscle in the body and let it go, stretch your arms and release. Connect to and acknowledge the body.
- Sit: Then sit on a chair with feet to the earth, cross legged on the floor or in a meditative position and relax your hands, eyes…soften into the seated posture. Yes, the back should be steady but your back has it’s own unique curves – respect how your own back supports you
- Breathe: Observe how your breath flows, in through the nostrils and out. Watch the breath with your full attention – how does it move my body, what do I feel…where do I feel that…breathe into that feeling or physical sensation…and let the exhale become longer
- Repeat: Offer the mind a mantra, or any word for repetition. As your mind distracts you bring it back to the mantra or word…again and again. Smile to yourself as you notice your mind took you off on a tangent to solve the worlds, your friend’s, family problems. Smile and play, explore again and again. Transformation is revealed through the return…again and again. Delight in this, in the opportunity to return to …
- Stillness: may be found in a fraction of a millisecond between an inhale and an exhale, it may be longer. The magic is in the offering of stillness to your self. The magic is in simply stopping to consciously remove the necessity for perpetual stimulus. The magic revives the whole of you.
- Time: You may have set a timer, you may have an inner alert. When the time is up keep the eyes soft, gently release the mantra or word. Connect mentally back into the sense of the physical body. Take a deep conscious breath. Imagine the room in your mind before you open the eyes and consciously reenter the external world.
- Return: You may choose to get up and walk, complete the next task at hand or reflect on how your meditation felt…you may want to keep a meditation journal – all or none of these things. This is your experience of meditation, be empowered to explore the best method for you without getting sabotaged by the need to follow precisely these 10 steps or any others! The only requirement is to give yourself the permission for timeless time.
- Have a look at the blog here at La Luna Meditations for some visualisations to explore in your meditation