What do you do in a meditation class? A friend at work asked.
We meditate, I said. You just chill out? For a whole hour, I answered. On a day I was the only student in the class, it felt like old times. An era when my workmates were either too Zen or too busy to pause on a Wednesday afternoon.
My guess is too busy. My hope is too Zen, but is there really such a thing?
Meditation isn’t the only place to grab Zen. I’ve found it in one’s eyes, or in a forest, or, honestly, on a breezy porch with my laptop, with plenty to read, and no deadlines. A work lunch makes practical sense, but give me that midweek, midday break to recharge.
What happens when we meditate
The toughest times in life leave us with such limited lung capacity. Shallow breathing during tense times is like driving on the highway in second gear. What stress it causes!
Breathing won’t reduce your credit card interest rates, but it’ll lubricate your soul as you write those checks.
What it looks like
With back straight and crown of your head high as possible, draw in the longest, deepest breath you can. Slowly. You don’t want to pass out. Hold it for 3 counts. Then, release, taking longer to fully exhale than you did to inhale.
Hold at the bottom for 3 counts before starting again.
Don’t feel discouraged if this doesn’t feel easy. The more tension we carry, the more uncomfortable it will feel. Breathe once, twice. If you’ve done that, you’ve begun.
That. Exactly that:
That critical pause between stimulus and reaction – that’s where the action is. It’s knee-jerk, a literal (or figurative) middle finger flipped in the face of adversity. How often do you wish your second reaction to the crisis had been your first? I want that superpower.
Can’t get your navigation app to connect? Or music to stream? Take your own route to work, roll down the windows, and hear and see what the universe is trying to show you.
What it looks like
See No. 1. Breathe once. Twice if you must, 371 times if necessary. See your first reaction. Is it angry? Will it move anything toward resolution? Let it sit, then fade away. What replaces it? What idea comes when you’ve discounted the one that came from spite?
To hear someone describe you like your first pointed reaction to things hurts. We want to be considered for kindness and reason. Look for those attributes in that second solution.
That. Exactly that:
This goes for others, yes, and the world at large, especially when it seems to have claws out while ours remain retracted. More importantly, it’s for ourselves. It’s for not getting Nos. 1 and 2 right always. Being mindful doesn’t mean being perfectly mindful.
What it looks like
Recognize your next negative self-thought. When we fail or perceive we’ve failed, we attribute it to unworthiness. What if we accepted that negative thought, and replaced it, as we did with our responses?
What if we not only dismissed the negative but replaced it with a positive?
That. Exactly that:
Why do I meditate? My friends ask me this. My kids, too. One boy I coached asked if I could make my body levitate when I meditate. I wish!
Meditation hasn’t upgraded my car or my beaten-down laptop. It hasn’t given me a raise or promotion or healthier skin. It’s simply given me the tools I need to live in harmony with reality. Even tacos are tastier in moments like that.
Prayer meditation is what keeps me sane. Life’s too hard to do without it.
Yes, we need that silence, that oneness with God. We don’t have to do it alone.
Hi Eli, This has to be the best explanation of meditation that I’ve ever read.
Thank you so much Susan! It came straight from the heart, over a slice of pizza.
i love how you explained it. made so much sense to me
thanks beth! it felt like a simple way of putting it, which is the whole idea, right?
I like your comment about tacos being tastier when you meditate 🙂
Because it’s totally true!
I feel like all that meditation is is just being mindful in each moment. Taking note of each moment – all the different sensations around you. The taste of tacos being one of them!
It’s not the *only* reason I meditate, Divya, but it’s up there! Even broccoli tastes better.
You’re so right about the simplicity of meditation, being in the moment. Even a mundane commute or pause between things has a lot to offer. Guacamole is just a bonus!
I think we can all use a little meditation. On purpose. Not the “kid wont go listen so I’m counting to 10 in deep breaths” kind either. That was me last night. And today I was miserable because I wound myself up instead of down. Tomorrow I will be more purposeful in my meditating. Thanks for the reminder Coach!
Just a pause, you know Kim? I’ve done it for 34 days straight! I sometimes forget to breathe when I meditate.
You feeling better today? I love that you recognized what you can do.
Beautiful! Kudos to you. What so many people don’t realize, is when you take care of yourself, like with meditation, you’re not only a better you, but a better parent, employee, coach, etc. It flows out in all directions.
I love the kid’s comment about levitation. What’s even more powerful than levitation is inner alchemy. Just did a series of powerful healing sessions, letting more bioluminescence (light) and love flow through.
Thanks! I struggled this morning even after meditating, and forgave myself for that. But I wonder how worse off I’d have been had I not taken the time.
I love that he thought I could do levitate! I need to know more about inner alchemy. There is never a shortage of things to learn, is there? Where should I look?
Inner alchemy is just inner change, and this is what the field of healing is all about. You’re on your way using meditation. Check out Paul Selig’s books. Start with I Am The Word. Just reading (or listening to) them changes a person – they’re encoded with energetic attunements. An attunement is a higher vibration that you will recognize at a level beyond the conscious mind. If you want to dive into a healing modality, Reiki is my favorite place to start. And many places that teach Reiki (I learned at a one day class), also have other classes and workshops.
A lot of inner alchemy is as simple as changing how you see something; a shift in perspective. Here’s a step by step of my favorite process: https://mariner2mother.wordpress.com/2015/10/28/how-to-fix-your-personal-shit/
I remember reading that! I read it again. I am so interested in Reiki, too.
There are so many good reasons to meditate. I really need to get back into the practice.
I’ve gone 37 straight days now! I feel it if I don’t.
I started going back to Yoga about 5 weeks ago. It is an awesome class and I have an awesome teacher. She calls it Yoga fusion because we start with Tai Chi, then do Yoga, then a little Pilates then back to Yoga before 15 min of Shavasana. That last 15 minutes is as important as the first hour. I really miss it when I do not get to go to class. Meditation and breathing is good for the soul… love what you said “Breathing won’t reduce your credit card interest rates, but it’ll lubricate your soul as you write those checks.” That’s awesome! I need to breath A LOT!!! LOL! 😉 ❤
Glad you’re back doing yoga, Courtney. I miss it! Shavasana is my favorite. haha. I’ve gone 43 straight days meditating and I can’t imagine a circumstance I would skip it. Even like, if Abby Cornish invited me to IHOP, I’d say, “hold on love – gotta be still for a few minutes.”
What a great post. Modern life is so hectic; we all need to pause and slow down. And thanks for the nice comment you left today on my blog.
Thanks! It’s not always easy to find the quiet, but it’s worth the journey. It’s been too long since I’ve visited your page … it was great to be there again.