Sit, Be Still, Close Your Eyes and Breathe for a Few Minutes
Making the time to sit and breathe for ten minutes every day allows us to get closer to our thoughts and emotions and to bring perspective to our lives. Done daily, focusing on breathing while in a comfortable and upright posture, allows us to bring clarity and energy into the rest of our daily life. As Pema Chodron says in Comfortable With Uncertainty, sitting quietly is a “vehicle for learning to be a truly loving person” both to ourselves and to the world around us. It brings awareness in a nonjudgemental way to other aspects of our lives so that we are less apt to react to a stressful situation and instead act with more calmness and certainty.
Notice I don’t call this meditation. This word can be misconstrued by those who are new to the concept of sitting still and breathing. For some, the idea of not doing anything for minutes at a time can be overwhelming . Some feel that if their mind is not empty of all thoughts then they are not going to reap the benefit. For others the concept of sitting and being still seems like a magical gift that only a few can be blessed with. Speaking as a neophyte and one who has read quite a few books and articles on meditation and has lead some guided meditations, I view this activity in a more simple way. What I notice is when I sit in an alert posture, focus on my breath, let thoughts come and go without holding on too tightly, I feel more relaxed the rest of the day. I become more aware of what makes me upset and what makes me happy. I’m able to anticipate situations better and bring more control into my life.
How To Begin
Plan a time each day to be still even if it’s only for a few minutes. You can set your alarm on your phone if you are worried that you might fall asleep. If the day gets away from you then go to bed a few minutes early and sit up in your bed with your back upright and well supported and just focus on your breath. You can count to 4 as you breath in and breath out. Keep counting as your mind quiets. If your mind is filled with thoughts then the counting will help you focus on the now and just the air going in and out of your lungs. Become aware of all parts of your body and consciously tell your shoulders, your neck, your eyes, your belly, your arms and your legs to relax. If thoughts arise then let them come in and then flow out. Don’t let your mind grasp any of them tightly. Try doing this every day for 3 weeks. See how it flows over to the rest of your life with improved relationships, improved attitude and improved coping with daily stress.
For your enjoyment I’m attaching a guided meditation that Belleruth Naparstek wrote in Staying Well With Guided Imagery – Relax with this guided meditation