START, REFRESH, OR REBOOT
by Carlos Ferreyros
If you missed this workshop and you’d like to tune in via Youtube, you can find that here.
How can I develop (or restart) a regular meditation practice?
If I had a poke bowl for every time I get asked, I would be totally out of shape. The first thing I like to remind people is that meditation is not another thing to cross out from your list. It is supposed to be time to give yourself for exactly the opposite – to not do. This is a time to let go, relax and enjoy being. After all we are not human doings but human beings and we must find the time to reconnect with our essential nature but how to make the shift?
Clear, honest motivation
We start with a clear, heart-felt motivation. We practice yoga because …, eat healthy because…, seek a partner because…meditate because… For us to take on a new habit requires that we contemplate the benefits and make a deep connection with them – I really want to try this out!
When we meditate we are training the mind to undo harmful habits. One of those habits is to have expectations of things going our way – If I do X, I should get Y. Well, that is the perfect path to disappointment. We are training the mind and like any training, it takes practice. But the good news is that this particular practice requires that you do nothing. That might sound easy but breaking the habit of constantly doing is a process. We live in a culture of instant gratification and can easily get bored, impatient and move on. It’s good to give yourself some simple rewards. For example, feel good that you actually did it (even if you were not able to calm your mind), try to just follow one breath fully and take each breath as a new mini-session, and remind yourself that meditation is about being present with whatever is going on in the moment, so if you have a busy mind, that’s what’s going on, just recognizing it is already a result from that meditation.
Relax, relax, relax
My teacher always reminds me that relaxing is key. There’s a saying in Tibet that if one is able to completely relax, one can achieve enlightenment just by doing that. Once you settle into the posture, relax your body. Once you connect with your breath, relax your mind. Once you relax your mind, enjoy your breathe and the subtle movements of your body and mind – the rythem of life.
Recall the benefits
There will be distractions, boredom, bewilderness, dissappointments and that is the way it should be. We are training to overcome them and when we start to tame our distracted mind to just settle onto itself, we will experience more space in our minds for recognizing our emotions and have a safe space between us and them. It’s in that gap, that positive change can occur.
Meditation is easy, relaxing is difficult.