Friday, March 19, 2010

How to meditate every day

"No wrong time to meditate, no right time to start!"

How I did it: Having learned that in any moment you can bring your attention forward
to your breathing and the actions of that exact moment, I have been able
to meditate more often. A few minutes here, a few minutes there, and my
mind feels far better for the rest of the day for having done it.
isn’t the rigid, ritualized meditation practice I thought I would want
to do. Hitting the zafu every morning isn’t always possible and the
first thing I needed to acknowledge, but didn’t, was that I wasn’t able
to make time in my life for a formal meditation ritual. Spending several
days beating myself up over not actually getting down on to the zafu
and zabuton to stare at the wall was counter-productive in the
beginning. I’m glad to be past that.
Now that I have realized how
easy it is to be mindful of the moment wherever you are, I can begin to
clear my schedule and make way for the formal practice. It will take a
bit more dedication to get up early than I have (I am enjoying late
nights and late mornings currently) but we can move to that position
gradually. It doesn’t have to be done overnight.
As always, the
bigger lesson in this was not the actual point of the exercise. I
learned more about listening to myself, learning to honestly evaluate my
time and energy level, and being gentle with myself when I wasn’t able
to meet all of the things I wanted to do. It spilled out from this to
such things as the impossible to-do lists I set up for myself every day.
I’ve trimmed them down markedly, noting that I’m far happier and less
stressed for not listing out 15 things to do and only seeing 5-8 of them
finished per day.
Overall this has been very good for me. I’m going
to miss the opportunity to sit on the zafu and be utterly swarmed by the
cats when I meditate next week while in Boston, but it’s good to know
that I can start the morning focusing on breathing, focusing on eating,
focusing on walking, and still achieve the same results without dropping
the practice.

Lessons & tips: ~be realistic with how often and when you want to do your practice
~be flexible when scheduling conflicts arise; everything changes always, so rigidly held ideas will only cause you stress here
~be willing to accept other forms of meditation. Yoga can be a form. Walking can be a form. If you can't handle zazen, there are other ways to do it.


It took me 1172 days.

It made me more peaceful

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