Close Your Eyes, Breathe….

Oohmmmm. I don’t say that when I meditate. I just sit quietly. Eyes closed. I have started to do it as a practice again and already I feel the benefits. 20 minutes. That’s all. I feel calmer, and a stillness pervades me that was absent for awhile. I welcome it. It is a contentment born from mindful focus on being present whenever I think of it. The meditation is helping. It is an oasis of peace that I am creating 20 minutes at a time. Me time. Universe time.
“I said to my soul, be still and wait without hope, for hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love, for love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith, but the faith and the love are all in the waiting. Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought: So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.” -T.S. Eliot
  There are many ways to meditate. I do mine very simply. I find a spot and sit in a comfortable position. Sometimes in a chair, sometimes on a low stool with back straight and legs tucked under me. I set the timer on my cell phone for 20 minutes. Close my eyes, take a deep breath and settle in. I don’t focus on my breathing because it distracts me. I breath normally and as I relax and spend time sitting, it deepens naturally. I try to empty my mind and listen to the sounds around me. I don’t label them but listen to them, wind, the furnace whirring in my house, cars outside, creaks in the house, the cat, voices in the distance, even the ringing in my ears…

   If I find myself thinking, I note that I am thinking and clear my thoughts and settle to stillness and listening, until I am aware I am thinking about something again and I have to clear my thoughts once more. It is a conscious thing and one has to do it over and over. Eventually the gaps between thoughts become longer. That is the oasis. As you sit you become more and more relaxed, the body and mind slow down. I stop listening. When the alarm goes off sometimes I am quite surprised, and would like to have sat a bit longer….
 There are days when it is very difficult to quiet the mind. So much to do, so many thoughts. Those 20 minutes seem like a lifetime. I have those days, but am glad for the sitting break….
and feel better for it. If you cannot find 20 minutes, find 10:) 
 You can meditate in 30 seconds! Right now. Stop. Pause. Become aware of your hands, the one holding the phone or on the computer mouse or laptop. Put your attention on your hands.  Feel them.  Be aware of them.  Breathe. See?  Your whole world just stopped for a second and you were present…..
 All photos copyright Shelagh Duffett 
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