HOW I MEDITATE
This is just mine. I'm curious about other people's processes. Tell me yours!
- •Find a cornerI like to meditate sitting in corners. My favorite corners are in my bedroom where I have a buckwheat pillow or my front porch on the chair.
- •Sit downIf I lie down I will fall asleep. I lie down for breath work but that's a whole other beast. I sit cross-legged because my legs go numb if I don't.
- •Observe what's in front of meI feel my body meeting the surface I sit on. I take in the room or the yard in front of me. If I'm in my car I take note of my level of privacy and feel self conscious. Note: the car is parked
- •Close those eyesSome people do eyes open. What are they up to?
- •Observe soundsSome people count breaths. Some people count inhales and exhales. Some people watch thoughts go by like cars on a street. I focus on sounds. I try to find every single thing I can hear. A car going by, the ceiling fan, the bird down the street, a church bell, someone's radio on far away, a dog losing her mind. Nothing is intrusive. All is welcome.
- •Battle my demonsAll the mistakes I've made, all the things I need to get done, all the criticisms I throw at myself, all the rude remarks I've heard, all the supposed injustices I face. They all come up. The stillness is where they want to hang out.
- •Say "Thank you. Not right now."This is what I say when each intrusive thought comes up. I'm grateful for it. It's keeping me accountable in some way. I let it know I'll think about it later. I promise. Right now just isn't the time.
- •I imagine the back of my hand rising to meet my foreheadThis is a weird one I got from a guided meditation once. It is somehow effective in putting me into a trance. You imagine the back of your hand rising to meet your third eye without physically doing so. There is something soothing about putting all focus into imagined physicality.
- •TonglenI do this at the end of my meditation. I choose one person or a group of people who might need some love or help. I inhale their suffering and I exhale light. It's a counterintuitive meditation that I struggle with. I am taking in suffering rather than expelling it. But in doing so I am just a tunnel for someone else's pain. It doesn't stay in me. All of it is transient and purifying. I'm just the middle man. This is just as selfish as anything but it makes me feel good.
- •Come back to the physical worldI do a countdown from 10 to 0 and return to my body and the chair and the room and the day.
- •Immediately start tackling a to-do listIn battling my demons I've come up with far too many things to get done. I carry a piece of the tranquility I just reached with me but mostly it's just a rush to become productive again because I've just spent 30 minutes just sitting in a chair listening to cars drive by.
- •There are 10 minute and 5 minute versions of thisOne involves balls of white light and a heavy metal ball falling from the top of my head to the bottom. One involves gold fluid rushing through my body. One involves breathing in 4 beats, holding 8, exhaling 7. That last one is great for sleep.
- •Walking meditationSometimes I do this when I can't slow my thoughts down. I walk very slowly with bare feet, feeling the ground below me. Noticing how my body sways, where my balance falls, how my heels roll to my toes.
- •"Just this"I took this from Tara Brach. When my mind is spinning out of control, I look around at where I am and what I'm doing. I say to myself, "Just this. Just this. Just this." This is all there is. The road in front of me. The laundry I'm folding. This list. Just this.