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Spring Cleanse: What next? Nothing!

Thursday, November 5, 2009 by Marianne Elliott

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Image via Pick the Brain

If you took part in the Spring Cleanse, did you practice clearing the time and space to sit in silence for five or ten minutes each day? Maybe you already have a regular meditation practice. If so, awesome! But if not then this is the gift I want to offer you from the cleanse. This is your free take home bonus prize!

You can start your daily meditation practice today. If you already started it as part of the cleanse you can keep going. Keep finding those ten minutes every day to sit in the silence.

Beginner's meditation practice is very simple and I promise you that you can do it and that, if you are doing it, you are doing it right.

Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit. You don't need to sit cross=legged on a cushion if that isn't comfortable. Sit on a chair, but still a little forward if you can so that your back is unsupported and long.

Set an alarm so that you don't have to keep checking the time. If you have one that will sound with something melodic rather than a jarring siren, all the better. Try setting it for ten minutes.

You can practice with your eyes closed or with them gently open, gazing softly at the ground in front of you. Either is fine, see which you prefer.

Take a few rounds of breath to feel your body. As you inhale feel the length and space in your spine, feel your stomach rise, feel your chest expand. As you exhale feel the weight of your body release down into the ground or the chair. Feel the support of the earth or chair beneath you. Inhaling feel space and expansion, exhaling feel release and support.

I find it really helpful to take this time to ground myself in the sensations of my body. It begins to draw my attention in towards centre. Being aware of physical sensations also requires paying attention to the 'right here and now'.

Now, let your mind rest on your breath. Pay attention to your breath. You are not trying to control your breath, not trying to make it different in any way. Simply paying attention to it. 

When your mind wanders away from the breath, and you come to your attention in the middle of a blow-by-blow replay of your latest argument with your husband/wife/child, simply notice that you have drifted into thought and gently return your mind to the breath.

When you next wander from the breath, and realise that you are half-way through a thirty item mental grocery list, simply notice that you have drifted into though and gently return your mind to the breath.

Do you see a pattern here? It really is as simple as that. Your mind will get busy, that is what thinking minds do. Your work here is simply to notice and to realise that you can choose not to go on that journey with the mind. You choose, gently and without judging yourself, to return to the object of your meditation, the breath.

When I first started meditation practice I felt like my mind was a puppy dog. As many times as I gently returned it to the breath it would race off again. Training a puppy takes extraordinary patience, gentleness and perseverance. My mind is much the same. 

Once you set aside the time to sit and practice in this simple way every day you will no doubt find, as I did, many ways to worry about whether you are "doing it right" or not. Know this: If you have carved out the time and you have sat down and you are practicing some form of simple meditation then you are doing it. You are not doing it wrong. You are doing it.

You already know how to be still, you already know peace. Everything is already within you. By making this time every day you are finding your way back to what was already there.

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3 Responses to "Spring Cleanse: What next? Nothing!"

  1. Lubna says:

    The analogy with a puppy dog is very apt, but very cute. I don’t meditate, but I think I must. I find it quite easy to concentrate. Yet, I don’t do it. 8-(

  2. B says:

    I’ve been doing my meditation all wrong, I think, I was getting so worked up, because I couldn’t leave my mind blank, when it’s so easy to just start again! Thanks!

  3. xiaowawa says:

    i think everyone of us should at least try to pause a little in this frantic world. It does not require any special equipment yet the benefit is immense. Change ourselves, change the world. Love reading your blog and thanks for sharing…

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