An invitation to this moment.
It begins with a breath. Just this breath.
The nostrils flair. The air moves up into your sinuses. Your chest fills, your belly rises. And then there’s a moment — just this moment — before you exhale. Your belly softens, your chest relaxes, your breath leaves as quietly as it arrived. For a moment there’s absolute stillness. For just a second. A nano second. Liminal space. Perhaps you feel your heartbeat or hear your hears ring.
But then another breath begins..
Did you have to remember to breathe? No.
Your body knows how to do this. It requires nothing of your attention.
And it knows how to do it again and again and yet again. That’s right. Even as you read this, your nostrils flair, the air moves up into your sinuses….
Meditation is that simple. It’s not about achieving the perfect posture, establishing absolute stillness or not thinking. It’s not about effort and struggle. It’s only about being present.
That’s it. For this breath, then for the next and the one after that. Right in the middle of this crazy, wild ride that is life in the 21st century. It’s about inviting yourself to just stop, for however long you can muster. Maybe 5 minutes, maybe 15, maybe 30. Once a day, or maybe twice.
It’s about giving yourself the precious attention you give to others. About treating yourself as kindly as you treat your best friend or your lover. It’s about affirming that you are worth spending time with.
And whatever comes up just comes up. You take a moment to stop, look and listen. To stop all the busy-ness. To look at your mind. To listen to its chatter. And then to let it all go. And breathe in. Your nostrils fill, your sinuses fill….
But why bother? Aside from all the research that shows meditation stimulates the immune system, confers cognitive clarity, and improves memory, we meditate because it opens our hearts—not just to ourselves but to others. It is the foundation of compassion and loving-kindness.
And though our minds want to tell us we don’t have time, we lack self-discipline, we have too much discomfort to sit long enough, none of these is really true.
We can make time, just like we make time to brush our teeth or unload the dishwasher.
We can set aside a regular time to meditate, just like we set aside time to sleep. And if we truly can’t find a comfortable chair or cushion, we can walk our meditation.
We can give ourselves this gift.
Would you like to know more? Join me for a four-week exploration of meditation I’m calling “Coming To.”
Give yourself this gift.
Ellen Robinson-Haynes, MA, MTS, has been practicing meditation and yoga for decades. She is a trained spiritual director, pastoral care provider and retired hospice chaplain. She joined the It’s All Yoga community 20 months ago. Read more or sign up for the series here.