I've learned the basics of mindfulness and when I discovered that a friend has years of experience in meditation and is now teaching, I wanted in. I'm very glad I did - here's why.
Turns out that meditation is not about sitting in a lotus pose for hours, on a remote hilltop trying to empty your mind - it's about learning to understand yourself (and thereby other people) better, and to be in the present moment better, so that life doesn't slip by in a blur.
If this piques your interest and you've got 10 minutes to spare (yep, you don't need long), please try the following and see how you feel.
- Place a chair (or stool) somewhere quiet - you want a chair that you sit 'on' rather than 'in'.
- Remove any shoes, socks and spectacles.
- Perch on the chair so that your back is not touching the back of the chair. Sit upright, with a small curve in your back, and place your hands on your thighs.
- Wiggle your bum bones so that you feel yourself on your chair (much of meditation is about learning to understand what your body is telling you so it's worth starting to tune in now).
- Close your eyes.
- Focus on your breathing: not on the concept of breathing, but on the actual physical sensation - maybe the cool air rushing in through your nostrils, maybe your tummy expanding and contracting, maybe the sensation of your chest brushing against your clothing.
- You won't be able stop other thoughts jumping in to your mind; the idea is not to try to stop or ignore these, but to acknowledge them, let them pass, and move your focus back to your breathing. If anything stressful enters your mind, think "not now". My teacher literally whispers "not now" to himself - I prefer to picture whatever (often whomever!) it is trudging away disconsolately. (I know that I'm in the zone once my breathing has slowed, the pause between breaths has increased, and it occurs to me that nothing new has popped into my mind for a fair few seconds.)
- When you're ready (ideally after what feels like about 10 minutes, or you can set a timer), it's time to 'awaken': scrunch your toes so that you feel the floor, wiggle your fingers and then slowly open your eyes.
Best time to do this? First thing in the morning before you drink your coffee and the day begins.
If you felt good after this, it's worth learning more from an expert - the above is the tip of the iceberg. I had a zillion questions for my teacher in my first session and you may have too.
If you'd like to book a Zoom call with my teacher please contact us and we'll send you a link so that you'll be able to book online.