practices compiled from my newsletter
standing in the shower, not thinking
One thing i love to emphasize with clients who have a barrier to meditation and think of it as sitting stoically and rigidly in a formal posture for an hour a day, is how seamlessly meditation can really be brought into your daily life.
Showering mindfully can be a particularly pleasant and sensual mindfulness practice.
Begin by turning the mundane act of showering into an intentional act by pausing, breathing, and feeling yourself crossing a threshold into an embodied experience as you step into your bath.
With this meditation, enter into your experience fully. Move deliberately and consciously with each motion. Feel the water spraying your skin, hitting the top of your head, rolling down your legs, be mindful of the sudsy soap lathering up, pay attention to the temperature of the water, notice the feeling of your own hands touching your skin.
Smell all the scents of any soaps, bath salts, air from outside wafting in. Watch your body movements and take note of any sensations or energy inside the body as you shower. Listen to the sound of the showerhead spray and hitting the tile, the water gurgling down the drain. Whenever your mind goes somewhere else just bring it back gently to your experience of being a body with open senses in the shower.
listening to sounds
an easy way to shift into meditation and incorporate it seamlessly into your day wherever you’re at and whatever you’re doing is to pause and listen.
it’s simple and always available. with windows open in warmer weather and more people outside playing & soaking up sun, springtime offers us a rich sonic atmosphere!
set a timer or just practice in breaks throughout your day for as long as feels good. seated, lying down, walking, at work, at the grocery store…just open your attention wide-open and allow the sounds around you to hit your awareness.
breathe naturally as you notice the sounds enter and leave your awareness. if thoughts about the sound or other mental commentary start to bubble up, simply redirect your attention back to pure listening without thinking.
practice listening with your whole body and notice what happens within you as you hear the various sounds of your world. look with your inner attention at how the sound arrives and dissipates. where do you feel it?
keep your attention sharp and focused on the sounds arising, keeping alert to track the newness of each moment. again, when your mind wants to understand what the sound is or starts thinking of something about the sound or just wanders aimlessly, turn your mind back to its receptive and open yet alert listening state.
you can extend the spirit of this meditation into everyday life. when mental chatter starts to pull you in, especially into thoughts of worry, fear, or self-criticism, instead of listening to the radio station of your mind, tune into another frequency: that of the sounds around you. keep drawing your attention back to that awareness, over and over again.
Find a comfortable position (seated or standing) where you feel both relaxed and alert, and in which you can breathe easily. Open your eyes wide and then stretching your eyes up and down and side to side, feel your eyeballs in their sockets. Repeat a few times and feel the sensation of eyeballs rolling around. then rest your attention on something near you or in your line of sight. Choose something beautiful to you–whether a scene out of the window or a piece of art. Just look and breathe. Really take the time to SEE what you are looking at. Notice the seeing. Follow your breaths and gently hold your attention on the scene or object. Connect to relaxation and ease in your body and mind. If you start to think “i should be doing blah blah blah” or “i’m not good at this,” then just notice and smile at yourself. Then return your gaze to take in the sight and feel a sense a calm spread through your body. At the end of 5 minutes, just gently open your attention away from your focus, and bring your awareness into the rest of your day.
Sitting right where you are or laying down, close your eyes into resting ease. Find natural and easy breaths. If seated, let your shoulders fall behind you, chest aims up, heart open and arms rest at side or on lap. If laying down, lengthen your body and stretch up and down until you find a resting place of balance. Breathe into your belly and take a deep pause into quiet peaceful emptiness. If you notice your mind racing, great! The mind does that. Open up your attention bigger than that, around the mental chatter and move into the feeling of rest in your body. If there is a stressful thought that seems to be getting in the way, try to find one place in your body that feels at ease, and bring your attention there. For example, shake out your left hand and let it dangle in the air loosely or rest completely on the floor beside you. Then notice what that hand feels like finger by finger and into the palm and back of the hand. If you can stay with your whole body, rest into your back, your spine, your breath, and rest a little more. Wherever you let go of tension, let go a little more. At the close of this practice, sense where you are supported in your seat or laying down and gradually shift your attention gently back into your day, carrying intentional breath with you.