Try meditation now - 20 minute practice
USE YOUR PHONE!
If you check your phone all the time, put it to good use now - find the timer and set it for 20minutes. Find a comfortable sitting position on a chair or any support you need to stay there for some time, and close your eyes - it takes more than 10 minutes for the nervous system to switch into relaxation mode so make your body as comfortable as possible. Its not a long time out of your day so now give yourself permission to do nothing, to close your eyes, to reassure your brain that there is no imminent danger, and just be for 20 minutes of your day. As you stay still and quieten the exterior, you may notice how stirred up your mind actually is, your mind may be calling you to that chore you haven't done, or remind you of that thing you had forgotten, it will try anything to get your attention. Welcome all the thoughts that arise...If you stay long enough, you may find change can occur naturally.
Be patient, stay with it...and wait of the timer to let you know you're cooked.
GIVE UP TRYING!
How to give up trying to DO meditation
So many people tell me that they can't empty their mind, that its impossible to meditate because their minds are so busy - then don't TRY! If you try too hard, the process becomes frustrating and another activity to fail at.
Do not expect anything and don’t make anything up…allow thoughts to be there but don't engage with them, just acknowledge them eg. 'ahh - there's that thought again, nothing new then, that one's been around for a long time (dont' engage with trying to think how long, where did it come from, when that event caused it). Welcome it as an old friend, and ask what else is showing up...now - what am I thinking, feeling, seeing, how is my breathing etc..' Be still, be quiet, let go of the past and the future, and listen deeply to what is happening now - what slides away easily, what is persistently knocking on the door of your consciousness, what is rising to the surface from the depths?
So...DO NOT TRY TO DO ANYTHING
DO NOT TRY TO PUSH YOUR THOUGHTS AWAY
DO NOT TRY TO SUPPRESS YOUR FEELINGS
A PINT OF GUINNESS!
No, don't give up and have a pint of Guinness - read on!
In the eastern tradition, the mind is often compared to a lake. Our mind is stirred up, agitated, thoughts bouncing off the walls...all this movement makes the water murky, unclear and swirling around. As we become still and relax, the mind becomes calm and settled - this reminds me of a freshly poured pint of guinness all murky from its journey swirling through the system and into the glass, and how it takes time to settle down, a meditation to watch in itself. I think the similarity ends there but I'm still researching!
If we can get a glimpse of what its like to have a settled mind, if we are able to see down into the depths, through the clear water, we can see what's really there. Eventually, when the fluctuations of the mind become still, we are able to see the true Self. It is said that in that state, we realize that there is no difference between the individual soul and the Supreme Soul. In other words, there arises a sense of knowing who we really are connected to all of life, realising our true nature to be beyond the mind, our thoughts, our conditioning, our individuality, our hang ups and experience. This can be a reminder or a complete revelation but its certainly a place of knowing without thinking...
What does your lake look like now? Do you feel agitated or calm? Looking back over the year, has your mind accumulated too much stuff, endless ideas bouncing off the walls, juggling lists of things to do and being pulled in so many directions with thoughts of the past, worries about the future... if so, have you made time to stop and remind yourself of your true nature - BEing a human BEing?
READY TO PRACTICE NOW?
OK so read the following and set your timer for 20 minutes
- Imagine your mind like a lake that is stirred up and murky. As you become physically quiet and still, can you allow the sediment to slowly drift to the bottom?
- Focus on the contact between your body and the ground - can you feel the dust settle?
- Notice your thoughts without trying to change anything - be patient even if you're ready to give up
- Is the water becoming clearer and the surface still - notice anything about yourself in the reflection, as you reflect and let things pass?
- If there is lots of disturbing noise around you, notice the sounds but do not let them become a disruption. You can use them to become aware of your stillness, your self, your resting. For example, there is some drilling out in the street - If you become ‘attached’ to the sound, you may become annoyed, irritated, maybe even melodramatic, but certainly distracted…notice how these reactions feel in your body, what kind of attitude do you have. If you allow the sound of the drill to be there, to welcome the vibration as an invitation for you to recognize your own vibration, it becomes something in your awareness which you can relate to. You may even find that the movement outside allows you to feel more still in comparison, relieved that you are taking time out, to rest, to heal and nourish yourself - feels good?
- At the end of the practice, reflect on what happened, did you notice anything important- eg. you observed yourself annoyed, distracted, unable to concentrate which spoiled your experience, this may have snowballed out of proportion as you sat for longer – So ask yourself how this behaviour shows up in other areas of your life? Is there a connection or a pattern. Be honest with yourself, is there anything you you've found out about yourself?
Do let me know what kind of experiences you have and how you’re getting on!
Judy Hirsh is a yoga teacher and yoga therapist. She runs holidays in India, retreats in the UK, meditation courses, workshops and BWY foundation courses in north London, and 1-2-1 yoga therapy sessions.