Friday, November 1, 2013

Meditation: Simply Notice

A group of women gathered at my studio last week to be trial subjects in an upcoming meditation workshop one of the women is presenting this month. Volumes have been written trumpeting the practical benefits of meditation, yet all too often I hear, "I can't do it. I can't quiet my mind. It doesn't work for me." Somewhere along the spiritual continuum, a lot of folks missed the point.

I don't practice to relax. I don't practice to quiet my mind. I don't practice to become a better meditator. I practice to notice. I practice to let go, without attachment, without judgement. If you're waiting for the perfect moment, the perfect mood, the perfect cushion, clothing, music, incense, CD, you are cheating yourself out of one of the most useful tools in our wellness arsenal. 

Try this. Find a spot to sit undisturbed for a few minutes---start slow. Get comfortable. Set your timer. Close your eyes. Breathe. When the siren outside screams past, notice (don't curse), the sound. When the cat jumps into your lap, notice the sensation. When your mind revisits the argument you had with your partner last night, notice the thought. Don't judge sounds, sensations, thoughts. Don't get mad at your mind for dragging you into the past, racing you into the future. Notice, then let go, detach. Stay. Breathe. Repeat, and then repeat the process again tomorrow, and the day after that.

You can't do this wrong. You can only not do it, and in not meditating, you are depriving yourself of learning to coexist peacefully with the world around you. Practically speaking, this means, the next time another driver cuts you off in traffic, notice, do not attach, do not react. Instead of railing against a co-worker's procrastination to complete a needed task, notice your resistance, your frustration, and in that moment of noticing, choose, without malice, without judgement, the higher thought. 

Notice. Simply notice.