When we see a picture or an article on meditation the image of a Buddha comes to mind…sitting still, legs crossed and a smile on the face. It looks so peaceful, so simple, and so easy!! But for many of us with busy lives, or little children, it seems difficult to believe we could ever fit this in our lifestyles. The good news is that you’re probably already doing some sort of mindfulness practice or meditation in your day and you might just need a little help to expand this into your own meditation practice when you’re ready.
Think of something in your life that you do with focus. Do you practice yoga? Do you have mad fishing skills? Are you a great baker or a gardener? All of these things require you to be in the moment and to focus you attention on the task at hand until the details seem natural to you. You’re not just adding flour to a bowl; you’re making a creation, just the right amounts of everything until the final product- a delicious desert maybe –tastes just right. Yum. When I move in yoga class my body is a sequence of breaths and movements. Its what I do for 60 minutes without having to think about the details. I don’t think about anything outside of what I am doing or how I feel in that moment… simply put, it’s focus.
Have you ever woke up and thought “I’m awake”? Do you eat food and just savour the taste as you chew? When it rains do you walk outside and smell the damp wood and wet earth? Do you hear the birds chirping when you’re out walking the dog? Being present through these everyday moments helps us to notice the richness in our lives. Being mindful can help us to notice these simple moments and will help to steer us in the direction where we can have more of these wonderful occurrences in our day.
If you want to meditate, you’ll do it. But you have to sit down. This can seem tough and pretty much impossible with little pinfish swimming around your feet (pinfish: that’s what I call my kids…they’re cute, small, and always on the move!). You can sit, listen to your breath, and close your eyes. Be still. You might need to shift around a little – or a lot- as you’re starting out, but as soon as you’re comfortable, come back to your breath again. Every time you try this it will seem a bit better, and eventually you can train your mind to be present.
Through repetition we can learn more about what we’re doing. It becomes natural so that you don’t have to think about the basics of the task. Like the baker who with time and effort has a better understanding of how to fold the batter or “cream the butter and sugar” (yes, for 10 minutes), you too will have a better perspective on how to work with your mind. Start with 5 minutes a day and eventually work yourself to 30 – but don’t rush it, you’re baking your own cake now. When you bring meditation in to your life you will become better in tune with your self, the nature, and the sweet smells that surround you.
Give it a try sometime! Don’t forget to breathe…