As I wrote about earlier in my “acceptance” post, finding time to sit still and do nothing isn’t all that popular in my life lately. How long could it possibly take? An hour or more? I had no idea.
I found an article in Psychology Today that I feel gives a great introduction to the practice of meditation for everyday living. Here is what it said:
In the highlands of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, people look at life differently. Upon entering the local Buddhist monastery, there is a spectacular sculpture the size of a large oak. The intricate carving of clouds and patterns are painted in powerful colors. But as soon as winter gives way, this magnificent work will melt to nothing. The sculpture, in fact, is made of butter, and it is one of the highland people’s symbols of the transient nature of life.
And life here is not easy. Villagers bicycle to work before dawn and return home long after sunset. Many live with nothing more than dirt floors and rickety outhouses. Upon entering these modest mud-brick homes, you’ll find no tables or chairs—just a long platform bed, which sleeps a family of eight. However, when the people invite you in for tea, their smiles are wide and welcoming. How do they possess such inner calm in conditions we would call less than ideal?
The article goes on to talk about how meditation plays a big role in these people’s lives. Whether cooking or working outside, they perform these tasks in a very serene way, almost like they are meditating in the day to day activities that most of us rush through. To me this means slowing down a bit and taking time to actually notice what I’m doing, seeing, tasting, creating. It seems like such a simple way to integrate meditation into life.
Researchers found that sitting quietly for just 10 minutes a day in meditation can lower stress levels and over time, this actually reduces the amount of cortisol (stress hormone) the body produces.
So, the big question on my mind was, “how exactly DO I meditate?” Well, you can walk slowly or sit. Focus on your breathing or on a word or picture that is calming. Sometimes your mind may stray from that thought, so if/when this happens, gently bring your mind back to that initial peaceful place. I’ve heard this may not be easy at first, but over time, your mind learns to focus.
I’m going to try this out. Just 10 minutes a day. After all, I think I am the ideal candidate!
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