Meditation is simply sitting, breathing and being. Sitting is the action that arises from your intention to meditate. It doesn’t matter if you are able to concentrate for only 3 seconds at a time. What matters is that you’re following through on your intention by making the time to sit for your practice. Breathing is the vehicle that connects your mind to the rhythm of your heart. The breath is necessary and nourishing. Breathing consciously quiets the mind, sooths the spirit and calms the body. Being is allowing yourself the freedom to just sit and to breathe; so when you meditate you learn to let go of all the roles that you play throughout your dayâ€¦ employee, friend, spouse, child, or parent.
Meditation is the conscious practice of moving into stillness. Stillness does not arise in moments but is ever present. Stillness is the abyss from which all phenomena arise. Michelangelo has said, “[t]he marble not yet carved can hold the form of every thought the greatest artist has.” In this way too all “things” including your inherent perfection are already present in stillness. Each time you sit in meditation you become the artist whose chisel is the breath and whose hammer is presence of mind, revealing the beauty that is already within.
Meditation is not the goal but a means through which you can realize your goals, whether that goal is to simply relax or to realize the nature of your spirit. In this way your meditation practice is the practice of tending to the garden of your mind. When you meditate, you weed out the negative thoughts and beliefs that are the cause of your suffering. Through your practice you sow the seeds of your wellbeing by manifesting your intention in the act of sitting, resting, calming, breathing and being. This is how you begin to reap joy in your life.
Mindfulness is the practice of meditation out in the world. Mindfulness is “sitting” your consciousness in the refuge of your heart while on the freeway, it’s breathing consciously while standing in line at the grocery store and it’s noticing when you’ve lost yourself to being a role rather than just being your perfect self. Mindfulness is looking at the whole world with an artist’s eye ready to reveal the beauty in the marble.
Your mindfulness practice for this month is to create a sacred space for yourself. It doesn’t have to be anything formal, but it does need to be special. Have a special chair or cushion, a picture that you find meaningful, some incense or a candle. Create a space that will inspire you to sit and to breathe and to be.
Photo Credit: Fabrizio Verrecchia