Start with your breath …………
Once you have determined that you wish to include spiritual growth and enlightenment in your daily life, you have to begin. I’m going to break your heart, especially if you are American. You have to sit still. You have to give yourself 30 minutes minimum and better yet an hour – and you can do nothing but sit there. Just sit. Be quiet.
I know, I know. We Americans can barely sit still for two seconds, let alone an hour. How we got to this hectic pace of life that a lot of other cultures do not practice, I don’t know. I just know we all haul ass in America.
While living in Canada – I thought I would die from the pace of things. I had just moved from a major metropolitan area and if you didn’t move fast someone would shoot you or you would get run over. You couldn’t even walk across a street or some nasty driver would be calling you names telling you to hurry. I thought this was normal. I had never lived any other way.
The best way to slow down is to be mindful i.e., pay attention to what you are doing. This can start out small. Decide that while you are grooming yourself for your day not to rush through the shower, brushing your teeth, combing your hair. Just say to yourself “I have plenty of time and I am taking a shower. I do not need to hurry.” Keep this up every time you get cleaned up and it will be a habit within a week.
While you’re making breakfast, lunch or dinner, recognize what you are doing. If you are peeling a carrot, honor that carrot with your presence. Be mindful of that carrot. As you start cleaning up after dinner, be with yourself and tell yourself that you have plenty of time to lovingly wash your dishes. Be grateful there are dishes for you to do since this means you have been able to eat. Love dishwashing every day until whenever you put a dish in water, your heart glows.
Notice how you breathe while you are mindful and in the moment. The breath will automatically be deeper, slower and more complete. You will not be panting from exertion but instead calm and tranquil. Recognize the difference and then check your mind. Are you worried about anything? Are you still stressed, planning your next task and ready to fight or fly? You most certainly are not. You are here, in the moment, breathing and being mindful of what you are doing.
Mindfulness and breathing are your first steps toward spiritual growth. You have to find yourself before you can start. Be with your body and your mind. Don’t fight any thoughts – love them. Place your mind firmly on what you are doing at the moment and let everything else go. There is plenty of time.
Breathing and Meditation
My first attempts at meditation were hilarious. I would screw my eyes closed and see lights and black shadows and I’m going oh boy I’m having a transcendental experience! Whoot! Not. No I was just screwing my eyes so tightly shut I was seeing things.
I took a lot of classes on how to meditate. In not one of those classes did I learn to NOT MOVE during meditation. Do not scratch, don’t wiggle, don’t change position – be still as a statue. I learned this from Dr. Saraswati at bigshakti.com. His Meditation and Yoga Nidra guided meditation forced me to be still. By being still and breathing – around 40 years after I started meditating – I had my first out-of-body experience. Wow.
It needn’t take you 40 years. First, take the time for yourself to meditate – preferably 1 hour. If you have family in the house, firmly and clearly state that you will brutally assault anyone who comes in your door during that 1 hour period. And mean it. It took me forever to convince my one husband and one son to leave me alone for one measly hour a day. I seriously let them know they were stepping into dangerous territory if they opened my door for any other reason than a house fire. It took them a year to get it. They are very persistent people.
Once you have established that you get an hour to yourself, decide if you will meditate sitting in a chair, on the floor with a cushion or laying flat on your bed. I lay flat. I am most comfortable in that position and it is the easiest for me in which to relax all my muscles.
You may want to take some time to have objects near you that are important to your spiritual growth. A special stone such as a crystal or some other talisman you enjoy. Images of your particular deity can also be included. You can build an altar or just place these objects on a shelf or table near you and darken the room. Noise does not matter because you will soon not be paying any attention to it at all.
Take 3 deep breaths. Hold each breath for a few seconds and slowly let the breath out. Inhale and exhale always through your nose. There are various breathing techniques that you can learn later, but for now just breathe in an out at a normal pace. Allow your breath to be involuntary and in its own time.
Concentrate on each breath in and each breath out. You need do nothing else. Do not worry if thoughts start flying through your mind. The most common will be things you need to do and why am I sitting here? Let your thoughts roll in and out of your mind. Mentally step back and look at your thoughts as if they were a roll of exposed film. See the thought and see it roll out of existence. Do not try to stop your thoughts! This is pointless and will only frustrate you because you will then have the thought of “I must stop these thoughts.” One thought is just as good as the other – all you need to do is let them come and let them go.
If you can start with this practice once a day for an hour, within a couple of days you will begin to look forward to your time and you will be refreshed, joyful and happy at the end of your meditation. You can even do this meditation for only 10 minutes or less if you wish. You just need to start so you can go on …………….