guest post by Irene Jones
How does your meditation practice look and feel? We’re highlighting stories of meditation in everyday life to help de-mystify this life-changing practice and share simple meditation techniques with those just getting started. Share your experience in the comments or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org
These days, my meditation practice is me waking, taking my time, checking in with my emotions, my physical self, and my breath (when I remember, because there is a tendency for the cogs in my brain to start gaining momentum pretty quickly.) I do a little yoga in bed. Nothing strenuous, a few yummy stretches, cat cows and twists and neck attendance to loosen up any stiffness.
I brush my teeth, drink some water, and soon enough I sit comfortably on a cushion facing my window that opens out towards spaciousness and the natural elements. Just before this, I light some incense. I sit nice and tall, roll my shoulders back and lift my heart, starting with a good posture. Of course, it relaxes as I meditate and from time to time, I gently reset the weight in my sitting bones and lift the crown of my head.
Grounding first, I encourage my lower body to be heavy and my pelvic floor to relax. I check in with the Manomaya Kosha, the mind sheath, or how we process our thoughts and emotions. I rest here for a while scanning my entire body head to toe.
I check in with my breath and follow it with my awareness until I get distracted and then I gently bring my awareness back to my breath again.
Most importantly, for me these days, in my meditation practice is opening to my emotional self, so I feel-in. I ask myself, “How am I feeling?” “How am I?” and I patiently wait and open to my experience as it unfolds. I meet myself with kindness and permission for whatever is there and for whatever wants to come to my attention. I hold the sensations of my inner experience in a very sacred and tender embrace. This is my practice.
I rest here for as long as I like. I can then move on to my mental space, check in, honor my mind and all that it does for me and for all its potential. I ask myself, “What would peace feel like in this moment?” I rest in patience for a sense, if it comes to me; if I can cultivate it this morning, if not, no judgement. I rest in the light of my own awareness. Every day is different.
I especially love when I can get outside early in the morning, when it’s quiet so I can meditate in nature; I’m not sure if there is anything more lovely. Maybe I’ll do some yoga or qigong too. I am blessed to have gained these skills over the years, practicing on and off, making a gradual home for my expanding awareness and my inner peace.
Meditation in itself is not a difficult thing to do – however, to commit to a daily practice, even if just for a few weeks or months can be challenging. Though the rewards are worth it. Meditation can make a huge difference to how we approach ourselves and others; gifting us with opportunities to experience space and patience and self-acceptance while in relationship, it is a fantastic teacher.
Ultimately, we are listening to our own inner teachings and wisdom. I recently heard, that if we can think of it like brushing our teeth, then it will be an easy habit to begin. Five minutes every day is all you need. For me, it depends on how I feel, 20 minutes, sometimes longer, sometimes less, and sometimes I incorporate meditation into my daily activities themselves. Just being present and mindful in each moment is a practice in itself.