I try my best to sit daily for meditation in my little Arlington, VA home. I aim for quiet time – free from dog & husband. I aim to keep it simple – no Zafu cushion, no fancy mantra or expensive meditation timer. It’s already challenging enough to simply carve out the time, even if it’s just 5-10 minutes. So I don’t beat myself up if I can’t gather the luxury meditation tools or sit for 20+ minutes without the dog licking my face.
When I do sit in my quiet space, it’s just my breath and Timex sports watch. Usually my intention is to simply feel my inhalations (feeling expansion & growth) and exhalations (exploring lightness and freedom). When that seems repetitive, I move to listening to and equalizing my breath –the rhythm of each inhale, the pace of each exhale.
As simple as I try to keep my mediation practice, it’s often very hard. Sometimes I drift into unfamiliar thoughts –almost like I’m watching a movie because often I don’t recognize the scene or people. Frequently like most novice meditators, I drift to my “to do” list. The best is when I have inspirational moments. These experiences are usually coupled with the sudden urge to write down my creative ideas, but I resist in an effort not to further distract myself from the moment at hand. The point is I “drift” almost every time I sit. I really don’t know how many seconds or minutes go by until I catch myself “drifting”. Does it matter? As soon as I catch myself, I do my best to return to the simplicity of hearing and feeling my breath.
One thing I’ve learned over the years that has put me at ease is drifting is human and there are many ways to meditate –walking, sitting, eyes open, eyes closed, chanting mantras, etc. There isn’t a right or wrong way. The right way is what works for you. Just do it and “be” in the moment just as you are. The wrong way is to skip it all together.
To conclude, keep it simple. Yes, sometimes the simplicity leaves me feeling nothing which in many ways is the point of meditation. Other times, I leave my seat with an amazing sense of internal clearing (again feeling “empty”) and a keen awareness that carries me through my day. The truth is feeling “nothing” is an addictive and healthy feeling. And the more I sit, the more I want to make the time for it. I want to continue to keep it simple. I want to continue to feel “empty”, and I’m okay if my dog wants to lick my face and join me in the process. Maybe that’s his simple meditation 🙂