Glide into comfort! Enjoy this five-part series of five-minute meditations, a new one each Sunday. Five ways to ease the mind and float. Methods that have been used for centuries.
Meditation relieves stress, uplifting the body, mind, heart, and soul. It reduces acidity and constrictions of all kinds. It increases endorphins, life-giving happiness hormones.
No matter what kind of stress you face, meditation will bring relief. It is best to start with a brief time, but do it every single day. Some people find it easier to meditate first thing in the morning, others last thing at night. Some begin and end their day with meditation.
The mind likes to chatter constantly. Perhaps this is comforting, like leaving the radio or TV on all the time. But have you ever stopped to listen to what the mind is saying?
“Got to do this, got to finish that, this looks interesting, this looks dangerous, gross, appalling, do that better, I don’t like them, they don’t like me, you messed up, you idiot, go, go, go.”
Our mind pressures us. Our mind is not necessarily our friend.
We are not our mind. Our mind is only a part of who we really are. Meditation strengthens our Inner Observer, who is larger, more peaceful than our mind, filled with lovingkindness.
Okay let’s begin. As one of my favorite yoga teachers says, “Leave all your worries outside the door. Be here on your mat. There is no other place you need to be. Nothing you need to do right now.”
Choose a comfortable seat. Let your spine be straight but relaxed. It’s fine to sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
Breathe into your belly. Let your belly expand as you breathe in, relax as you breathe out.
If it is difficult to belly-breathe, place your hands upon your belly and make your abdominal muscles push outward as you inhale. Try it gently for a while. Just to get the feel of belly breathing. As infants we breathed into our belly naturally. As we grow fearful, we tend to use only the top part of our lungs, which doesn’t give us enough air.
For our first meditation, we will say a word. This will occupy the mind and allow us to rest. During this and every meditation: when your mind wanders (and it will), be gentle with yourself and simply bring yourself back. The practice of meditation is really the practice of returning to your focus.
Settle into a comfortable upright seat. Relax your eyes or let them close. Inhale gently and deeply into your belly. On the exhale, repeat the word “Peace” aloud (or even whispered. It seems to work better when we do use our voice, even though we can to this silently if we prefer.)
Another of infinite options might be to mentally or vocally say a phrase such as “Ease… Flow.” Ease on the inhale (mentally), “Flow” on the exhale (using the voice).
Keep in mind, you may choose any word or phrase you like. It could be a short prayer or mantra. We allow our mind to rest in the words and in the breath.