Meditation and relaxation are both a 'process' .. and there are many techniques we can learn to assist us in tapping into this very natural and instinctive activation of the relaxation response. In meditation we relax the body, calm the mind and engage the senses. It is when we shift from the 'thinking' brain to the 'sensing' brain that we open the door to relaxation, and in this space we practice our meditation.
When we sit quietly and focus on one of our senses, as a child completely mesmerized by a new smell or sound, then our random and busy thinking mind drops away into the background. Sensing is a very natural mode of relaxing .. we can relax listening to rain on the tin roof, or immersed in a warm bath imbued with our favorite fragrance .. in meditation we make this shift to the senses a conscious and deliberate act. When we are fully engaged with our senses then our mind has less interest or energy to think.
In his book Peace Is Every Step, Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh embraces meditation in each moment of every everyday, 24/7 .. there is a meditation for sitting at traffic lights, for eating a tangerine and for giving hugs. He also talks about the Telephone Meditation, a wonderful meditation especially for those that are office bound .. when there is often too much noise and competing demands.
A ringing telephone can often be the cause of rising anxiety as we continue to be interrupted and side-tracked .. we then find our heart to start racing and our body tense. However, instead of being angry and impatient with the telephone, in this meditation we hear the ringing as a trigger to remind us to breath in .. breath out .. and smile. We hear the telephone ringing and imagine the sound to be that of a mindfulness bell, used by monks to remind them to come back to the present moment.
Telephone Meditation (spot meditation)
We practice the Telephone Meditation by simply allowing the phone to ring a few times without automatically dropping what we are doing and racing to answer it.
* Every time you hear the telephone stay exactly where you are
* Breath in and breath out, relaxing completely into this one breath
* Say to yourself .. 'listen, listen'
* Allow the ringing telephone to be a sacred signal to just stop .. breathe .. and centre.
* Observe your breath .. the beginning, the middle and the end of the complete breath .. and smile.
* When you hear the second ring .. mindfully stand up or move to answer. There really is no need to race frantically to answer straight away, most people expect at least two or three rings before an answer.
Allowing the telephone to ring a few times becomes our temple bell, reminding us that we can always return to the present moment and after a few grounding breaths we can fully focus on the transition to another task.
This is from today's Monday Meditation Musing : our free e-note .. each Monday delivered to your inbox and the best way to start your week. If you would like to join in email firstname.lastname@example.org