Thursday, February 10, 2011

Back to Practice

M. mentioned the other night that she had bought a book on meditation, and was going to give that a try, and I thought to myself, oh, yeah, meditation, I haven't been doing that.  And then when I went to my tuning-forks healer (yes, that's what I said.  What?) this week, she mentioned I should probably get back to meditation.

Okay, so I'm getting some messages that I should meditate.  But the dog has to be walked, and classes prepped, and emails answered.

Then I noticed that I've been in ego-overdrive, which for me looks like me getting really internally worked up over things I care about:  whether or not that journal article is going to get accepted (Why I haven't I heard?  What is taking so long?  What if I don't get published?  What will people in my field think?  How will I explain my failure?) or why some students in my Communicating Science class aren't taking their blog assignment seriously (Do they think I'll give them an easy A anyway?  Have I messed up the structure of this class? Do we need a different textbook?  What if they don't like me?).

On and on.  And as the mind goes round, so does my stomach, and I get little spikes of anxiety, little spurts of adrenaline throughout the day, and end up feeling weary and exhausted and strung out.

So back to meditation I go.  This is what works for me when I can't seem to quiet my mind:

I just sit somewhere comfortable.  Because of my back, the traditional meditation pose doesn't always work for me (it does after yoga, but that's about it).  I like sitting in my bed, or slightly leaning back on a bean bag.  I put my hands on my knees with my thumb and forefinger touching.  This "mudra" reminds my body of what it's supposed to do, and a little body memory is helpful when your mind is spinning a lot.  Then, quite simply, I count to ten, timing the counting with my breath.  I try to notice when I'm rushing the counting, my need to "get it done" overwhelming the breath.  Often, I don't get past 3 before I go chasing some thought (this morning, I was chasing writing this blog post).  But, eventually, if I persist, I can get to 10, and then start over.  And before I know it, the thoughts are mellowing and I can let them go, not chasing them too much.  They still come but I don't have to necessarily ride them into the sunset.

The counting is not the only way to go, obviously, and if I get back into my practice, my need to count, even, eventually fades and I can just go into quiet.  But it's helpful when I'm out of practice and my mind seems to big for me to manage.

Above all, with the return to practice, I am returned to myself and can notice my ego-overdrive and it lessens its hold on me a little.  So, here we go again.

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