I started a daily meditation practice back in 2003 after I participated in a 10 day silent retreat in North Fork, CA. I remember sleeping on wooden bunk beds in a cabin in the woods, eating delicious vegetarian food, waking up to a bell at 5:00 AM & hiking down a trail in the pitch black sky with only a flashlight- all to sit on a pillow & focus on my breathing for 12 hours/ day!
Since then I’ve reduced my sitting to a much less strenuous 10 minutes a day (my back thanks me!) Having tried just about every meditation under the sun…from group Vipassana to zen walking meditation to more visual/ colorful tantric styles, I see they all have this in common: they slow down the mind & cause an amazing shift to happen.
For example, all day today there was something nagging at me, a subtle frustration with life, with myself, with things not going at all how I’d hoped. I sat in meditation & let the feeling fully come up, which my mind coded as “stuck emotionally”, “frustrated”, “suffering mentally”, & even “in despair.”
AFTER sitting in meditation for about 20 minutes I observed my inner dialogue again and it had totally changed to ‘I’m thankful for…”, “graditude,” “surrendering to change,” & “making empowered choices.”
Shifting our attention toward our own thoughts/ inner sensations, we see & feel through them & suddenly they change. It truly is a life-changing practice.
Set your phone timer for 10 to 20 minutes. Find a comfortable quiet place to sit using either a folded blanket or a chair. When you get comfortable, start to relax your muscles & focus on the breath. Just let your breathing be natural, unforced. Watch it flow in & out, if it’s shallow let it be shallow. If it’s deep, let it be deep.
Now, see how you’re feeling. Be neutral- just watch what comes up. Notice it & without judgement gently put your awareness back on your breath. If you notice any sensations in the stomach you can put the awareness there & allow the breath to flow into that space. When you’re ready to end it gently touch your forehead to the ground & surrender/ release any leftover or unresolved feelings to the earth.
Thanks for checking out this slow down tip!
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