Last Friday, in the middle of feeling rather awful, physically, I was forced to step out to visit the insurance office to sort something out. Now it isn’t as though I have a problem with that – but the flu can be a real lethargy driver.
Anyway, I did go and by the time I was through, I had run up and down three floors multiple times, sat in their rather sad sofa for 10-minute stretches and huffed and puffed my way through various counters.
The nice thing was, all the counter people were pleasant people. Willing to help. Maybe didn’t always know what needed to be done, but happy to direct me from pillar to post.
I finally headed back home a little past lunch time, relieved that the matter had been tied up. I had a longish journey back home, as the insurance office is somewhat far off and so settled down to the rhythm of the ride. Naturally I fiddled with my phone a little to read a tiny chapter from my current book, but the autorickshaw jostled so much and my eyesight not being what it used to be, I decided I would just practice some “sitting meditation”.
One always assumes that meditation must be done in a particular place and ambiance. But that’s not so. We can do it wherever we are – at the airport, standing in queue somewhere, at work at your desk for a few minutes, or just sitting wherever we are.
According to Thich Nhat Hahn, in his book Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life
– the same book from which I shared the “hugging meditation” last week, when we feel the need to calm down and get ourselves together, there’s no need to run home to find our meditation cushion. We can practice conscious breathing just about anywhere. I mean, we have to breathe to live, so it is a matter of regulated breathing.
I have tried this, and must have possibly looked slightly silly as I went from being flustered about something, as I consciously took myself to serene, but once it became a habit, I stopped worrying about how it looked. The important thing is to go from stressed to smiling. Can you picture that? All through mindful breathing and sitting meditation.
How to use sitting meditation to go from feeling drained to delighted and return to ourselves and feel confident to face life?
As easy as that. This can be done lying down, standing or walking as well, but sitting feels best. Kind of grounded.
The ideal thing is to sit cross-legged on a comfortable cushion, thick enough to support you. If you can, sit in the half lotus or full lotus positions as this has other benefits such as establishing stability of body and mind.
If you do want to try that lotus position do one of the following:
- Half lotus – Sit cross legged and place one foot on the opposite thigh
- Full lotus – Sit cross legged and place each foot on the opposite thigh
Too tough to sit like that? No problem.
- Just sit cross legged or in any comfortable position.
- Let your back be straight.
- Half-close your eyes.
- Fold your hands on your lap.
You can also sit in a chair, feet flat on the floor and hands resting in your lap.
Or lie on the floor on your back, legs straight out and a few inches apart, arms at the side, palms facing up.
I can manage the lotus position but my feet go to sleep and I find it hard to focus on anything else. When that happens, I just slowly readjust my position, taking care to concentrate on my breathing. It takes a little time but you’ll get there.
If you feel the need to get up and walk, do so mindfully and sit when you are ready.
The whole point of sitting meditation is reach that place of peace and happiness, calm and relaxed. You don’t have to tolerate feeling numb and uncomfortable.
Practice sitting meditation whenever you can, to help yourself relax. Over a period of time, you’ll find that you are better able to focus your energy on solving problems, not fretting over them.
I have a pretty good mind to start a “Monday Meditations” or “Mindful Mondays” series of posts as I have a whole lot of things to share with you. What do you think? Shall we go for it?
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