Meditation Is Simple...

but not easy.

Mindfulness not only makes it possible to survey our internal landscape with compassion and curiosity but can also actively steer us in the right direction for self-care.
— Bessel van der Kolk

 

My formal practice (sitting meditation) has been almost nonexistent this week. I know that meditation works best when practiced regularly. To do that it's suggested that we build it into our schedules, not hope and wait for a convenient time to present itself. I brush my teeth in the morning, I drink a large glass of water, I make coffee, why didn't meditation make that list more often this past week?

I could make many excuses, I was busy, I got called in to work early, I was too tired. But it all comes down to this: I let my mind drag me around this week with things like "I'll sit later, right now I have to research something" or "I don't have 20 minutes (or 30 or 10) but maybe I will later" or "I just need to do this (whatever this was) and then I'll sit" but then this turned into that, which turned into another this. You get the picture.

Have you heard the phrase, the mind talks but the body knows? I didn't sleep well this week, wakened many nights by the 3am monkey mind. During the day I'd find myself rehashing some difficult situation or worrying about the balls I have in the air right now. The busy-ness and the stress led to not taking care of myself in other basic ways like food and water.  By Sunday, my body was speaking in a strong, clear voice with physical manifestations which caused me to cancel something I was happily anticipating. Not meditating had allowed me to ignore my body.

And so I spent time, was forced to spend time, being present in my body, the body which is always in THIS moment.

For most of the week my mind was, more often than not, anywhere but the present moment. Meditation brings me back to the present moment. Like the cool glass of water that hydrates me after sleep, sitting in silence, being with my breath, replenishes me in another way but one that is just as important. Nonjudgment is a foundation of meditation and Lucas LeardMann, a teacher whose guided meditations I enjoy says, and I paraphrase, "just as we wouldn't scold an active puppy for wandering off, getting into trouble, there is no need to scold our mind for following it's nature." There is such freedom in that, if we've wandered for a moment, a day, a week, a year-we just gently and kindly escort ourselves back.

 

 The gorgeous Gen and his Boy.

The gorgeous Gen and his Boy.

And so without judgment, this morning I sat.