Meditation 101: "A Spoonful of Meditation"
In the simplest terms, meditation is about staying present. Period. One of the fastest ways to do that is to tune into your breathing:
-- Take a breath -- and a quick inventory of how You are. Are You here -- in the moment -- or not?
-- Now do the same thing and let Your Self truly become aware of your breathing: the rise and fall of your chest, the quality of that movement, the sensation of drawing in air and then releasing it. How are You now?
-- A mindful breath -- even if it's just one -- is the fastest way to reset the system. You can't help but be present while you're tracking it.
-- Allow your breath to bring you to the here and now -- for a moment, or several, or even longer. Feel free to tie it to a word, sound, prayer, gesture or movement. This is your practice, do what serves you.
If you're not quite comfortable -- or ready -- to tap into your breathing, you can bring Your Self back to the present in other ways, by deliberately concentrating on the task at hand. For example:
- Really settle into a chore you're doing -- feel the material of the clothes you're folding, the sound of the broom against the flagstones, the rhythmic back and forth as you iron.
- Look out the window -- truly notice that bird on a branch, its feathers, its song, its flight.
- Savor something you're eating -- the taste of that spoonful; the aroma of your coffee; the way cool water quenches your thirst.
- In the bath or shower -- the warmth, the way the water spills over you, the fragrance of the soap and essential oils.
- While walking -- be purposeful in your movement, truly take in what you're moving past -- the trees, the sound of traffic, the quality of the air.
When you find your mind wandering to last night's conversation, tomorrow's meeting with your boss, or what's missing from the grocery list, gently -- gently -- bring it back to the present by either taking a mindful breath or concentrating on the task at hand -- or both.
Remember some of the many benefits of calming Your Self and being in the here and now. The practice reduces stress, depression, anxiety, anger, heart disease, and blood pressure, while improving focus, concentraion, productivity, clarity and even compassion.
Plus, staying present allows You to respond instead of reacting to a given situation -- a win / win for all, yes?
I invite you to practice and play.