As a committed yogi, one of the hardest things for me to do is meditate. I have always admired people who have the discipline and ability to sit quietly and let their minds, bodies and spirit experience the enlightenment and the “in-the-moment” benefits of meditation. In this Yoga Journal blog post, the writer lists 100 benefits of meditation. If I could sit for 5 minutes consistently, and only hit a few, I’d feel like I had made progress.
Recently my friend and fellow yogi, Pam Kessinger Best of Love and Light Yoga Co, told me about a 21-day meditation challenge hosted by Deepak Chopra and Oprah. I thought, this is it! This will help me get my meditative act together.
So I began the program, listening to the uplifting and meaningful meditative prompts. Day 1, I meditated at night . .. and promptly fell asleep before Deepak was done. Day 2, I meditated in the morning with the same result. Day 3, I meditated mid-day in our sunroom and fell asleep again. Each time, I failed to meditate for the entire time, napping instead.
One day 5, as I was walking the dog (which I do about 5+ times a week), it came to me: when meditative practices began (probably about 5,000 years ago or more) most people were very active, farming, tending to live stock, etc. To sit — really sit — was a welcome change to their rigorous lives. In fact, I’d guess that you had to reach a certain economic or religious stature to even have the chance to sit and meditate. Sitting was a luxury; sitting was a sign of piety; sitting was uncommon.
I don’t know about you, but for me, sitting is a daily occurence. I spend the vast majority of my day sitting. So when I think of meditating, the last thing I want to do is . . . . you guessed it: sit.
On that same walk, I began to consider that my time walking (usually 45-60 minutes) may be my own personal form of meditation. During those moments, I feel deeply connected with nature. Having the most zen being on the planet by my side, our dog Roxie, brings the present moment into crisp focus; and removing myself from the home, I leave the computer, laundry and everything else behind. My mind lightens up.
So, I’ve begun cultivating these walks as my meditative practice, taking Deepak and Oprah along. I focus on my breath and feel the earth beneath my feet. I listen to Oprah set the stage and Deepak explain the mantra. I release the Monkey Mind and try to completely relax.
Is it ideal? Probably not, but it’s a start and that’s the most important thing.
What about your meditation practice? How did you master seated meditation?