What stops you from sleeping through the night? Is it when things are not going your way or they look topsy-turvy and you just want to scream; when your life appears chaotic and you are not sure if you are coming or going; or when it feels like everything is piled on your shoulders?
Life should be an exciting and outrageous adventure. Isn’t it a wonder how a spider weaves a web or a bee makes a hive? Did you ever notice the small, everyday miracles, like the fact that you can breathe in and out? But how many of us get to experience this miracle? Sometimes life just feels too awful. We want to feel good, we want to be happy, in fact happiness is our birthright. But so often there are just too many difficulties to deal with. And although we may know that meditation chills us out, if we are feeling stressed or irritable then it just doesn’t seem so appealing.
So here are three mini-meditations, moments to just stop and breathe and remember why you are here. A moment to check yourself out, to look within, and to find what is really meaningful to you. You can get it together even when you think it is all falling apart.
Mini-meditations can be done on a train, walking down the street, at an airport, standing at a bus stop, in an elevator, while sitting in the bathroom (often the only place you can be alone!). Silently count your out- breath up to ten times, or walk with awareness of each step for up to ten steps. Or relax each part of your body, then silently repeat "soft belly" for five breaths.
If you are at work, then use your lunch hour to find a quiet spot, perhaps in a park, or even in the office if everyone else has gone out. If you are traveling then use that time to consciously breathe, letting your awareness follow your breath from the nose tip to your belly and back out again. If you are driving or operating machinery and feel you are getting tense, then stop for a moment, breathe into your belly and silently repeat "soft belly, soft belly." Focus on any part of the body that is feeling tight and breathe into it, until you relax and let go. Silently repeat "soft shoulders" or "soft neck" and so on.
As you walk down the street or ride in an elevator, practice a mini-loving kindness by silently wishing everyone be well, wishing that everyone be happy. In the office you can spend a few moments repeating the names of everyone you work with and wishing them happiness. On your way home from work reflect on your day and generate loving thoughts to all those you met. When you send out relaxing and loving thoughts it relaxes the space around you and often any chaotic or disturbing energies will dissipate. What you put out comes back to you ten fold.
1. Mini Breath Meditation
Sit comfortably with your back straight. Take a deep breath and let it go. Begin to silently count at the end of each out breath: Inhale… exhale… count one, inhale… exhale… two, inhale… exhale… three. Then start at one again. Just three breaths and back to one. Simply following each breath in and silently counting. So simple. Do this as many times as you want, eyes open or closed, breathing normally.
2 Mini-Walking Meditation
You can do this walking along a country lane, a city street, in the office or the garden. You can walk slowly, normal or fast, whatever feels right. As you walk become aware of your walking, of the movement of your body and the rise and fall of your feet. Become aware of your breath and see if you can bring both your breathing and your walking together. Just walk and breathe with awareness for a few minutes.
3. Instant Letting Go
Find a quiet place to sit, have a straight back, and take a deep breath and let it go. Then quietly repeat to yourself: "My body is at ease and relaxed… my heartbeat is normal… my mind is calm and peaceful… my heart is open and loving." Keep repeating this until you have let go of the tension and are at peace. Then take a deep breath and have a smile on your face!
We would love to hear your story and also comments on how you relax with meditation.
You can pre-order a copy of our book at: BE THE CHANGE, How Meditation Can Transform You and the World. It will be published Nov 3rd. Join us for a booksigning: Nov 3rd in Boulder CO; Nov 11th in Portland OR; Nov 13th in Seattle WA; Nov 16th in NYC; and Nov 17th in Springfield MA. More details at: www.EdandDebShapiro.com
Our new book, BE THE CHANGE, How Meditation Can Transform You And The World, has forewords by the Dalai Lama and Robert Thurman, with contributors such as Marianne Williamson, astronaut Edgar Mitchell, Ellen Burstyn, Michael Beckwith, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Jane Fonda, Jack Kornfield, Byron Katie, Dean Ornish, Dan Millman, Seane Corn, Ram Dass and others. It will be published Nov 3rd 2009 by Sterling Ethos.
Deb is the author of the award-winning book YOUR BODY SPEAKS YOUR MIND. Ed and Deb are the authors of over 15 books, and lead meditation retreats and workshops. Enjoy their 3 meditation CD’s: Metta – Loving kindness and Forgiveness; Samadhi – Breath Awareness and Insight; and Yoga Nidra – Inner Conscious Relaxation, available on their website: >www.EdandDebShapiro.com