existing between the breaths,
in the pause where exhale
turns to inhale, and all
is still and quiet. i know
what comes next but that is
for then. now is all there is
in this pause between breaths.
i see a glimmer
in the back recesses of my mind,
but when i turn to focus
it fades. we play this game
until i realize that it is
nearly gone. i grieve until
i sit, quietly, focus on my
breath, and am present as
it comes to greet me and
hold me close.
Today’s meditation was wonderful. I entered a place where the general distractions of life, the background noises, the cats, the talking, none of it penetrated to the place where I was safely drifting with myself.
Sadly, I cannot report to you that I did anything differently today than I did yesterday, or the day before, but today it worked.
I don’t know whether it was this meditation, or meditation in general, but I did also manage to deal with a difficult emotional situation without breaking down or feeling utterly crushed.
Let’s see where this journey leads.
I was a hot mess in meditation today. It was about forgiveness and my mind was in a million places. At the moment, I don’t have anyone or anything I need to forgive per se, but I was also not very present. I was even aware of it a few times during the meditation but just couldn’t break free from my roaming mind.
That’s okay though. It gives me the chance to practice self-compassion.
Today’s mantra was “Om Shanti Om.” It was given the translation
“I radiate peace.” I particularly appreciated this mantra. When the mantra was first expressed I did not know it’s meaning, and yet I did find it peaceful when I heard it. This was approximately a ten minute meditation. It is important to note that I was not in a quiet place while I listened to this meditation. There was a great deal of chatter going on around me. Despite that, I still found peace during my meditation. Ten minutes well spent.
During today’s meditation I was to contemplate my body in order to become aware of the feelings, emotions, and the sensations that creates. I promise that I was engaged the entire time, and that I did not fall asleep. I was sitting cross-legged and I did not have to jerk to catch myself like I have had to when I fell asleep. And yet, I entered this place with no thought and was shocked when the chime rang to end the meditation. The time just disappeared. I felt calm, recharged [like from a good power nap], and peaceful. I love when meditation feels this way.
This morning I tasted two separate kinds of meditation.
The first kind was mantra meditation. In this form of meditation, there is generally an introductory thought expressed by the facilitator, followed by a mantra to be repeated as a focus. I appreciate this form of meditation for its simplicity. I find that it is much more difficult for my mind to wander during this meditation. In large part I believe this has to do with my unfamiliarity with the language. When I have attempted to use English as a form of mantra, I do not have to focus on it as much and my mind wanders off.
The second kind was a meditation on being present and non-reactive. In this meditation we were asked to consider, from the safe place of meditation, a situation where we reacted to a person or event. We were to examine the feelings associated with that reaction in order to learn to recognize those feelings as they arise, and thus develop a plan to accept and move through those feelings when they arise. I do not get the same calm feeling of centeredness from this meditation but I think that is, at least in part, the point. I do appreciate this form of meditation as well, though it is more work.
In order to be who you are, you must be willing to let go of who you think you are.
Today I spent 10 minutes in a meditation where I focused on my breathing. I used a free app, Insight Timer, which I highly recommend. With your permission, it turns off the notifications on your phone while you are using it which helps to avoid distractions.
After that, I practiced a focused meditation upon the above quote. I love short quotes like this because there are so many ways you can take something like this. After some contemplation, I decided that for me, in this moment, it means that you must let go of your own pre-conceived notions of self, those established in your childhood, youth, teens, 20s, and however far past that you have gotten. It means disregarding the labels, good and bad. In letting go of the labels, yours for yourself and others for you, you will be able to find your own self of the moment.
I have been meditating on and off for years. It has been a part of my yoga practice for the last 20+ years, but I will be honest, it was not my focus. About six months ago, I promised myself I would take 5 minutes a day to meditate. Everyone says even that little will help. Two months ago I moved to 15 minutes a day. It was hard. It was hard to make the time; to justify spending my time ‘just sitting.’
I would like to point out that I have no problems at all sitting and watching TV, or sitting and surfing the web, or sitting and answering email. I know that about myself and yet it was difficult to commit to spending 15 minutes sitting with me. Upon realizing what a hypocrite I was being, I took the plunge. I found an inexpensive course online that would last 40 days [they say it takes 30 days to build a habit] and be less than 15 minutes a day.
I am going to detail my experiences from here forward so that I will remember why I need to keep doing this.
The first few days were about paying attention to the breath. This seemed really silly at first. I mean, breathing is something we all do, but they explained that by connecting the autonomic nervous system with the somatic nervous system it forms a connection between your entire nervous system, bringing them in sync and creating a connection. It is also incredibly hard to do! Try it. Try focusing on your in and out breath for say, three complete breaths…without wandering. At first I just could not do it. Now I can, and I am feeling so much more focus in my life.
The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.
With each day, with each moment, we are experiencing firsts. I learn something every day. It’s not always something big that I learn. Today I learned that the trees across the street bloom in pink and fuchsia. This may not seem like something earth-shattering, but it is something I did not know yesterday, and it is a beautiful thing to know in my opinion.
Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.
Some truths we know but struggle against. The good Doctor was right. We need to smile because that wonderful thing happened at all, but instead, most of us, end up crying because it’s over. We do our best to keep it alive even as we watch it fade. We are so attached to that wonderful feeling that we just can’t bear to let it go, not even if something even better is on the horizon.
I am working now on appreciating, valuing, and loving, while not being attached to any particular outcome. In order to do this, I am using mindful meditation several times a day, as needed. I am starting to find some peace.
The trouble is, you think you have time.
We get so caught up in believing that once we have completed a few things on our checklist things will miraculously improve. We will have the time for our friends, our kids, our partners. We live for that day.
A wise man once said to me, ‘if it’s important, you’ll make time for it.’ At the time, I got very angry. He just didn’t understand how busy I was. He didn’t understand my life. How could he think that I could find time?
The thought kept coming back to me. I kept hearing the message over and over. Oh my goodness. He was right. I was spending my day spinning my wheels doing the things I didn’t want to do to ‘get them out of the way’ only to find out that they never did get out of the way and I never did do what I actually wanted to do. Once I accepted that, I started to shift my life. I accepted that I would go to work Monday thru Friday into the foreseeable future. I would never get it done. So instead of trying to push that one project out the door, I would leave work on time and enjoy that extra time with my kids. I would make time for the volunteering by cutting out some TV, or social media, or…
I do not have time. I only have now.