My mind is the master, just ask it. It knows everything, and what it doesn’t know it can find out. But the instructions on meditation say:
“When we sit down the first thing we need to do is to really inhabit our body—really have a sense of our body.”
Oh, you mean get out of my head, right? Easier said than done. Most days if you ask my mind whether a headache is a reason to slow down, it will say, take a pill and keep moving. My poor body is very often treated by mind as a second-class citizen.
When I meditated this week, as part of my ongoing challenge of sitting for thirty hours a month, I was really aware of feeling.
Not thoughts about how I feel- depressed, happy, challenged. Those aren’t feelings, those are stories I run that create a thought and then a reaction.
I actually sat in meditation and felt the energy of a thought in my body. I felt my sore spot between my shoulders where all my tension resides currently. I felt the itch above my right eye. I felt the heat of my heart and the vibration of get up and go energy that percolated in my arms.
The game this week on the cushion has been to catch myself after I’ve run off on a thought.
Once I catch myself thinking, I drop the story I was writing. I let it go.
What’s left is a feeling in my body. An echo of the thought. A shadow. I can just feel it without the text the brought it to life. Like a silent film with no subtitle.
It’s surprisingly easy, but also surprisingly hard. Words and definitions of what’s happening pop up so quickly. My mind is desperate to categorize what’s happening. It wants to tell me what I feel. But I’m learning, I don’t need to be told. I can just feel.
Want to try it out?
- Sit in a quiet place for 5 minutes and just breathe. You can sit in a chair; just make sure you are grounded, with feet on the floor.
- Now ‘feel’ your body. Aches, pains, energy.
- Notice what story pops up.
- Let the story go and go back to the ‘feeling’.
- Notice what happens when you stay with the ‘feeling’. Does it change? Stay the same?
- Appreciate the moment to be there, in that moment, fully in your body.
Update from last week:
I have finally completed my first 30 hours of meditation in 30 days. I struggled to make all my hours by November 30, so in a random act of kindness to myself, my month of 30 hours is now logged as November 7 to December 7th.
Last week I wrote about meditating while on buses. Taking my practice into the world. I loved it. Yesterday I meditated on a ferry crossing. Coming back to the present moment through meditation is a practice that makes my day more sense rich and makes me more balanced. So if you see me staring into space on the bus, don’t be worried. I’m just really listening and feeling the place I’m in. My current version of an espresso shot mid day!