One thing each day that makes me feel good and is good for me. I mean, a box of Little Debbie’s makes me feel good for a minute but I suppose that is unfortunately out of the realm of self care.
Today was early morning meditation. My mind was in epic form, wandering all over the place but that’s kind of the point; to constantly bring it back again and again*. With practice, this gets easier. Consistency is my nemesis in all things but today, this one time, I won.
*semicolons are a mystery to me. I stuck one there because it felt right. So there.
My personal meditation practice has thus far been one of ebbs and flows; in a definite ebb the past few weeks. One of my “recharging” strategies is a monthly meditation class at the yoga studio that I like so much. Meditation with a group vs meditation alone is such a different experience. Both are beneficial and I love them in equal measure. Yesterday I joined the small class for an hour of guided meditation/movement and this morning I sat alone for seven minutes. Each method is a win in spite of the vast difference in duration and format.
I find that when I haven’t meditated for several days, coming back to it is a welcome homecoming but my mind is much more active and jumpy than if I stick with it for longer stretches. That’s normal I suppose and I am a believer that meditation takes practice to reap optimal benefits, even though the irony is that there is no wrong or right way to do it. It is about finding what works best for you; sitting in the traditional cross-legged position or legs outstretched, seated in a chair, standing up, laying down, or a walking meditation. You really can be mindful wherever you are and in whatever you are doing.
During yesterday’s class my mind was a whirl, my feet kept falling asleep, and my back ached. And yet, I came away refreshed and in a better mental state than when I had entered the doors of the studio an hour earlier. I received further confirmation that I was practicing in the right place for me when our teacher read from a book of one of my favorite meditation practitioners, Tara Brach, and reminded us that there is no right or wrong way to meditate. Your mind will wander and thoughts will come and go. Meditation is a process of coming back to yourself, over and over again.
You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes a day, unless you are too busy. Then you should sit for an hour. ~Zen Proverb
I haven’t yet made meditation a daily habit, which is my goal, but I have incorporated it into my life on a semi-regular basis and even that is pretty amazing so far. I’ve been doing a ton of reading and listening to talks but there’s no substitute for the actual doing. In a way, I think I’m a bit apprehensive about committing to sitting every day because I know it is going to change me substantially. I love change, but when it’s an internal, personal, spiritual one like this is/will be, that seems scarier to me. Perhaps that makes no sense to anyone but me and my therapist, but I get it.
Its not just the physical act of meditation that I’m finding useful, but the act of mindfulness in general and being aware, accepting things without resistance, and so many other principles of being in mindful presence that I’m finding to be applicable in every aspect of life.
I’m so pleased with the sitting space I’ve created in my closet and it is working really well. I found myself in a bit of a restless, panicky, weird place late last night and I went in and did a guided meditation and came out feeling much better and was able to go to sleep.
So here’s to making it a daily habit and embracing personal growth. And keeping my closet clean and clutter free. That may be my biggest challenge.
The you that goes in one side of the meditation experience is not the same you that comes out the other side. ~Bhante Henepola Gunaratana