Try This: Mini-Meditations

IMG_1613Once a day, or whenever you’d like to live with a bit more grace and ease, try taking a mini-meditation break. It’s very simple, takes only a few moments and can completely change your entire day.

I like to set a 2-5 minute timer on my iPhone, sit down on the floor if I can, close my eyes and just breathe. In and out. Watching the rhythm, and giving myself a short break from whatever life is throwing my way. I place my hands on my knees, palms down if I feel I could use some grounding, palms up if I could use some energy or insight. That’s all it takes, and it never fails to bring me a touch of peace.

With so many things in life, we assume that we need big solutions, big changes, extreme measures. And often we do need to do something, change something–but that something may not be as daunting as we think.  A moment of quiet breathing may be all it takes. If you meditate regularly, these short sessions are an added treat, and a way to weave your mediation practice more fully into your day. If you’re a new or (like many of us) an inconsistent meditator, these mini-sessions offer a convenient opening into mindfulness. Without the pressure of meditating for sustained amounts of time, you may find yourself going deeper more quickly and easily.

I invite you to stop, sit and breathe. Just for a moment. Just for one, precious moment. Notice how precious it is. Notice again. And then let it go.

Journey Into Stillness: Beginnings & Endings

It has been 40 days since the beginning of our journey into stillness.  Whether you sat beneath a bodhi tree, welcomed the dawn with a favorite mantra, or simply contemplated the idea of meditation, you are welcome here, at the place where one ending and a new beginning meet.

We are surrounded by endings and beginnings, some obvious, some not.  In a world that is constantly shifting, constantly changing, constantly evolving, it is important to mark the transitions, to notice when the gate swings open and we walk into a new life, a new day, or simply a new moment in time.

Breathe into the changes.  Find your sea legs; let yourself bend with the curves.  It is all a dance, and you were born to be a dancer.

Wherever you find yourself in your own journey to stillness, I hope it brings you joy and peace.  As for me, I will continue practicing the ways of stillness.  I will continue watching how one ending flows into a new beginning.  I will continue to fall deeper in love with the moments that hold me, and to share with you what I find along the way.


Journey Into Stillness: Books On Meditation

“[M]editation is like any other intimate relationship:  it requires patience, commitment, and deep tolerance.  Just as our encounters with others can be baffling, scary, and even irritating, our encounters with the self have their own moods and flavors.  Like any other relationship, this one changes over time.  And it is best undertaken with love.”  -Sally Kempton

My 40 day journey into stillness begins today.  Have you decided to join me?  Are you still not sure?  There is no right answer and no right way to do this.  Start now or catch up later–the path will always be there, waiting for you to explore it.  Try it now or try it later, but know always that the journey is your own.

Whether you are committed to your practice or only mildly intrigued, you may be looking for more guidance about how to begin.  I gave you some of my ideas about meditation here; here are a few of my favorite books on meditation:

Meditation Made Easy, by Lorin Roche.  This is “come as you are” meditation.  It is an excellent introduction to the simplicity of meditation, and demonstrates how easy and enjoyable it can be.

Meditation Secrets for Women: Discovering Your Passion, Pleasure, and Inner Peace, by Camille Maurine and Lorin Roche.  Roche teamed up with his wife, Camille Maurine, to write a book specifically geared towards women.  Throughout history, most formal meditation practices have been practiced and taught by men, to men.  This book takes a unique approach to meditation from a feminine perspective.

Wherever You Go, There You Are, by Jon Kabat-Zinn.  A landmark book on meditation.  Kabat-Zinn discussed different meditative practices in small, poetically written chapters.  This book is both clear and inspirational.

Meditation for the Love of It: Enjoying Your Own Deepest Experience, by Sally Kempton.  Sally Kempton is a frequent contributor to Yoga Journal.  When you are ready to dive deeper into the many facets of meditation, particularly those arising from yogic wisdom, this is a lovely place to go.

The finger that points at the moon is not the moon, Zen and Buddhist sages tell us.  To understand meditation and, more importantly, ourselves, we must not only think and study–we must also practice.  We must explore.  And we must be patient with the process, for meditation is a path different from that of our daily lives.  Going inward is foreign territory for most of us.  The roads are not always clear; our journeys are not always what we expect.

Although no one can take the journey for us, we can learn from those who have gone before.  May you find the teachers you need, but always remember that your best teacher lives within your own heart.

“Give up to grace.  The ocean takes care of each wave ‘til it gets to shore.  You need more help than you know.”  ~Rumi