Do you BREATHE deeply?
It’s Monday again, and – like last week – I’m back to offer a new 4×4 mini-canvas and share a little anecdote.
One of the things I’ve become good at over the last 15 months is meditation. Seriously, I can sit quietly for a ridiculously long time. That’s not to say that my mind is always quiet, but sometimes I actually get to stillness. When I first started my meditation practice, I was instructed to take 3 deep breaths. I was all, “Whatever. How can this possibly help me?” So I inhaled and exhaled and inhaled and exhaled.
I was hardly in a Zen place.
My teacher put my hand on my stomach. “Breathe so your belly inflates like a balloon,” she said.
Apparently, I’d been breathing backwards all these years.
Once I mastered inhaling and exhaling, I was able to relax more fully.
Who would have thought it was possible to breathe wrong?!
So how do you begin a meditation practice? It’s easy.
1. Sit or lie comfortably.
2. Close your eyes.
3. Make no effort to control the breath; simply breathe naturally.
4. Focus your attention on the breath and on how the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation. Notice the movement of your body as you breathe. Observe your chest, shoulders, rib cage and belly. Make no effort to control your breath; simply focus your attention. If your mind wanders, simply return your focus back to your breath. Maintain this meditation practice for 2–3 minutes to start, and then try it for longer periods.
Sounds easy, right?
Mindful meditation encourages the practitioner to observe wandering thoughts as they drift through the mind. The intention is not to get involved with the thoughts or to judge them, but simply to be aware of each thought as it arises.
Through meditation, I’ve been able to see how my thoughts and feelings move in particular patterns. I have become more aware of the human tendency to quickly judge experience as “good” or “bad” (“pleasant” or “unpleasant”). With practice, an inner balance develops.
In our hurry-hurry-rush-rush world, we sometimes feel guilty when we aren’t doing something.
I’ve soooo over that. Some people pray and some people meditate. Sitting silently is one of the greatest gifts I give to myself each day.
I encourage each of you to try it. Go ahead. Do it right now. Sit quietly and feel the chair beneath you. Feel your feet pressing against the floor. How long can you sit quietly without opening your eyes?
It’s important to take a few moments each day to let go of stress and, to that end, I’m offering BREATHE today for $20.
Have you ever meditated? What was your experience like? What was the biggest surprise for you? What was the biggest frustration?
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