My two challenges for the month of May were the following:
- Not complaining.
- Meditating every day.
Nr 1, I probably failed somewhere around the 4 minute mark, but I managed to start (very slowly) to incorporate mediation into my daily activities. I don’t think it was a resounding success though, so I will try to tackle the same two challenges for the month of June.
I am by no means a meditation blackbelt, despite having made it through a Vipassana session last year. Therefore, I am very keen on approaches that make it that little bit easier. Here are some of them that I have found work quite well (as life is about shortcuts and taking the easy way yeah)
Ten deep breaths
As I said, meditating is haaaaard (there goes my not complaining challenge). Many of us struggle with sitting still for half an hour in the morning dark. However, I found that taking ten breaths concentrating on making the exhale longer than the inhale is a great two-minute activity to reset your batteries. I use this during the day when I get overwhelmed, and before going to bed.
How to do it: Sit or stand still, close your eyes and slowly breathe in, then breathe out, trying to make the exhalation equal or longer in length than the inhalation. It is not necessary to take a super deep breath (you’ll end up hyperventilating), but it is necessary to slow it down.
2. Walking meditation
Mindfulness meditation centers around making yourself focus on sensations, noticing them and noticing their temporary nature. I find that doing this while walking to work is helpful in starting the day more grounded and calm.
How to do it: When walking, scan your body from head to toe and notice sensations. The noise of the tram passing you by, the wind in your face, the fabric of your clothes, the waistband of the too small pants you got on the internet digging into your midriff. Notice that all these feelings are temporary, they come and go- come and go.
3. Empathy/gratefulness meditation
I discovered this approach in the book Empathy by Roman Krnazich. It is a great way of connecting to the world, practising gratitude for all we have and do, and all the people who make it possible for us to have/do these things.
How to do it: Start with your morning routine. During each activity within your routine, imagine all the people who stand behind what you do. The corner shop man who sold you the toothpaste, the person in the factory who made that toothpaste, the people taking away your trash after you are done with it. You can also do it with other parts of your day, little by little.
So, do you meditate? Or do you not complain? Any tips for those starting out?