"There is no way that I can sit still long enough to meditate"
"I know meditation is good for me, I'm too busy, I can't sit for that long"
We've all said that, I've heard myself saying that many times.
I studied the system of Reiki with the International House of Reiki.
The start of a very different view.
The meditations and techniques studied within the system gave me a clearer insight into the simplicity of what meditation could be. The practices were straight forward, the effects profound. Could I meditate overnight? Definitely not. What I have appreciated is integrating these practices into my life creating a change from within. A steady pathway that has clarified my understanding and appreciation of meditation.
I was reflecting on how to express this one afternoon and picked up this little book on Meditation by Sogyal Rinpoche. Much of it resonated with what I wanted to express about getting started with meditation.
I no longer use terminology like "I can't..."
“The gift of learning to meditate is the greatest gift you can give yourself in this life. For it is only through meditation that you can undertake the journey to discover your true nature, and so find the stability and confidence you will need to live, and die , well. Meditation is the road to enlightenment.”
* Except: Meditation Sogyal Rinpoche
Including meditation as an integral part of your day is not as difficult as you sometimes imagine. Developing a practice requires discipline and intent. Fortunately there are many roads to assist you in this journey.
At northern Beaches Reiki we utilise the pathway presented in the System of Reiki as developed by Mikao Usui in the early 1900’s. Our meditation classes include elements grounded within the system as well as other supportive Japanese practices.
Developing a regular practice is essential for anyone engaging the benefits offered via meditation. Balancing the busyness of our heads with the presence of our bodies and bringing awareness to our breath creates calm, balance and vitality within.
Where to start.
Start with small steps. Don’t be overly ambitious, over expectation and burnout can quickly erode your practice. Just like exercise, if you go at too fast and hard it is easy to give up. Start with small blocks of time during the day and gradually grow these times.
Some basic steps to get you started with developing a practice.
Set a time of day that works for you on a regular basis. By making time, scheduling in your practice time, you engage a major hurdle. Even 5 minutes every day will start you on your way. Building up to 20 to 30minutes is a great aim. It is always easy to be too busy, so book yourself in.
Create a meditation space.
Creating a special space is a great way to assist you. From the moment you step into that space you begin your practice. This space can sometimes present a challenge, especially in a busy household. Remember, the space is only a tool to assist you in developing state of mind to facilitate your practice, and is not essential to meditating. This space can be a special room in your home, a chair in the garden, a special corner in a room that you can set up easily.
Some elements to consider when creating a space for yourself are:
Choose somewhere where you are not in the way of others, don’t try to get everyone to stay away from you, it is easier if you create a space out of their way. Hence timing can be an issue when creating a meditation routine. As the space may be used for many purposes, the intent will be what makes this your space during the time your are meditating. Imbue it with the respect that you would accord a sacred space.
- Create a space that has a safe ambience for you, somewhere you feel completely relaxed.
- Quiet is helpful, though not essential. Sound is a natural part of life.
- Have a small box or area that contains your meditation “helpers”. These tools can include, incense, a candle, special objects that contribute to your special place.
- A shawl, wrap or blanket. A shawl or blanket can provide a sense of relaxation and nurture. Often your body temperature can drop during meditation.
- Choose the practice you want to work with and set your intent.
- Creating a ritual around your meditation practice, initiates intent and helps to focus the mind. When your mind is focused, distraction falls away more easily.
- Begin each routine with the following principles to ready yourself for your meditation practice.
- Decide on the technique/s that you will be using during your practice.
- Sit or stand
- Gaze gently with eyes, have them downcast towards the floor or close them. Closing them is the least of choice, sleep can be all too alluring.
- Release all tension from the body. Roll your shoulders back away from your ears, tilt your chin forward just slightly, note your posture to allow the breath to flow evenly and calmly during your practice.
- Bring the mental focus to hara. (approx 3 finger widths below belly button).
- Allow your hands to rise in gassho. (Prayer position)
- State your intent in relation to your practice. eg: I am now doing my meditation practice and am open to receive what is right for me at this moment in time.
- Begin the practice that you have chosen to work with.
Keep it simple applies to all your practice. The ritual and the space are only tools to assist your practice, and can be very beneficial when you start. Attaching to the ritual can restrict your practice. Any space and time, are available to you when you set your intent to meditate.
“So what really matters is not just the state of sitting but far more the state of mind you find yourself in after meditation.
It is this calm and centered state of mind you should prolong through everything you do”.
I like the Zen story in which the disciple asked his Master:
“Master, how do you put enlightenment into action? How do you practice it in everyday life?”
“By eating and sleeping,” replied the master.
“But Master, everybody sleeps and everybody eats.”
“But not every everybody eats when they eat, and not everybody sleeps when they sleep.”
From this comes the famous Zen saying,
“When I eat, I eat; when I sleep, I sleep.”
To eat when you eat and sleep when you sleep means to be completely present in all your actions, with none of the distractions of ego to stop you being there. This is integration. And if you really wish to achieve this, what you need to do is not just practice as an occasional medicine or therapy, but as if it were your daily sustenance or food.”
*Except: Meditation Sogyal Rinpoche
*These excerpts were taken from A Little Book of Wisdom, MEDITATION by Sogyal Rinpoche.
This little book is in turn a chapter from his book The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying.
There are many methods to approach developing a meditation practice. The above are guidelines to assist you in getting started by setting your intent, and developing a space and routine around your practice. Start today and include meditation into your daily life. Not as a separate practice, instead as a fundamental element within your life. More information on my classes can be found here.…