Quiet Mind Meditation

This is a quiet space .. designed to inspire, nurture and support your meditation practice so that you might find your own quiet mind

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

My Week of Meditation : Day 1

This post (with one each day this week) has been magically brought to you by my meditation practice

Meaning, I got this crazy idea while meditating early this morning.

I love that.  

The creative impulses that bubble up in meditation. 

The idea struck me again later in the day and I thought .. hey this could be fun, maybe a little enlightening, a new way to discuss and share my meditation practice, something new to write about .. and I had a moment when I recognised that all these thoughts coagulated and pulsed through my mind, while I was meditating this morning.  

And thinking is not what I hope to do during my meditation.

But it happens.  We are human after all and our brains are designed to think.

Morning Ritual

I have a morning ritual that has evolved over 20+ years and it is something that I have crafted, re-negotiated, thought out and ultimately just fallen into the groove of.  Ultimately in life (ie. when children arrive) you recognise that you have little control sometimes over when and how long you might have to meditate - but you can have a plan.

Mostly I wake with the sun.

In recent years I wake around 6-6.15am naturally.  I don't have blinds on any windows so that certainly helps early rising.  In Melbourne at the moment it is Winter so I am waking pre-dawn .. no sun, sometimes no moon (hidden behind the big winter clouds) .. very dark .. and oh, so quiet.

I have simply fallen in love with the stillness and silence of the early morning hours.

There is a sacredness .. a magic in those pre-dawn moments.  I often go to sleep at night actually looking forward to the waking and then the listening .. the luxury of waking, gazing out at the night sky and staying warm under the covers and just l-i-s-t-e-n-i-n-g .. is sublime.

I soak up this stillness .. this soft deep emptiness

Soon the birds will wake .. the cars will start rumbling down the street.  The rising of the sun will bring with it a startling amount of energy .. and in meditation I have a greater appreciation and sensing of that growing vibration of dawn, even when darkness is still dominant.

I wake.  I pause.  I inhale the dark emptiness.  I languish for a moment in the wonder of it all.

Then I meditate.  

I send regular blessings to the teacher who inspired me to meditate in bed. 

For many, many years I ritually got up (as taught), grabbed my trusty meditation shawl and shuffled to my cushion.  It still feels totally indulgent to stay in bed and meditate, but I have been doing this (mostly in the winter months) for a few years now and I find there is still a sacredness to my meditation in bed .. and it is so much warmer and kinder.  

I sit upright.  Back against the wall with pillows to protect against the cold. I wrap my meditation blanket across my shoulders.  Cross my legs. Hold my hands in dhyana mudra.  

I sensed this morning as I set up my meditation timer, that the cosy veil of sleep and dreaminess was still around me .. but I simply noticed and got myself ready.  No rush.  No pressure.  

I set my timer usually for a 1 minute 'grace period' and a 25 minute meditation.  I never finish straight away .. perhaps another 10 minutes of slowly, gently, peacefully making an agreement with myself that it is time to start my day. 

This morning I started at 6.30am exactly because my daughter's alarm had already gone off.  I let her know that I was going to meditate and she know's that means she can't ask me a dozen questions and I would prefer not to be interrupted.  When she was little she would come sit with me, I would hear her little padding footsteps and without opening my eyes I would open the entrance to my shawl and she would snuggle into my lap.  Not any more.  Not at 17.  I miss that extra delight in my morning meditation practice. 

So child sorted and dog asleep at my feet.  I am happy to close my eyes.

My personal meditation practice 
has evolved over the years, and is based on the traditional practice of watching the breath.  Breath Awareness or Mindfulness of Breath.

This is what I was taught the first time I meditate as a 17 year old.  And I remember that sense of being spellbound.

The breath.  My friend.  Come sit with me.

Some days having only been awake a few moments .. I know that I need something stickier to hold onto in my practice.  If I am greeted with a whirlwind of a busy mind when I wake .. on those mornings I start with a mantra.  I shall share more on these practices over the week.

This morning I sensed a calm mind .. so I simply found my breath at the nostrils.

Chilly. Cold. Air. Grabs. Your. Attention.  This is good.

Cold cold air hitting my nostrils, travelling down the back of my throat .. I always get a little kick out of feeling my lungs expand, feeling the power of the inhalation, the opening, the clearing, the life that is there .. with each inhalation.. and then the beauty of simply letting the breath go.

Just letting go.

And I sense an eagerness to find the 'pause' .. because I love sitting there, right in the pause, no-man's land, no where to go, nothing to do .. hovering .. waiting .. (at this point I think how the Buddhist tradition would point out that this is attachment .. but I try not to think about this now).

Quiet again.

Until my ego-mind wakes up and decides there is more fun to be had - out there!  what about breakfast .. what have I forgotten to tell my daughter as she gets ready for school in the background .. what do I have to get done today .. whats the weather like, maybe I should take a peak ..

I smile inwardly.  Silly monkey mind.  I try to watch my mind with interest, resisting the urge to think but sensing thoughts as they formulate and pop into my conscious mind .. just watching .. noticing the energy they bring with them .. and watching them pass.

And I re-focus on my next breath.  Again. And again. And Again.

Then *POW* .. a funny, engaging and ticklish idea jumps into view .. how about I write about my meditation experience each day this week?

Ha Ha. Ok. I hear you. Now lets go back to the breath. Feeling the next inhalation .. and exhalation .. 

I have learnt to trust that my 'million dollar' ideas will come back to me later in the day.  I know that I don't need to chase them or repeat them or stop my practice.  I know they come from the flow of my meditation and I trust the important ones will be delivered back to me later ... usually in the shower (another place I tend to generate ideas).

After my meditation this morning I recognised that I carried the ease of a long restful sleep and gentle waking with me into my practice .. this was delightful and unexpected. So when my timer chimed two tibetan bells (letting me know my meditation practice was coming to a close) .. I felt sad.

This is quite common for me .. I often feel in love with my practice in that moment of finishing.

I feel so connected to the wonder of it all that I want to stay.  Which reminds me again that I must LET GO (even to my practice).

I took a few moments then to sense my body 'from the inside' .. listening to my body for anything calling my attention .. and then also sensing the quality of my mind, where was my mind in that moment?  and slowly .. a deeper sense of being in my room, the warm covers around me, noticing that my body knows the sun is rising even with my eyes closed, feeling the touch of the cold air on my face.

Today my morning practice was .. gentle. 

It is not always like this.  I hope that over the coming week I can share a range of different experiences because our meditation practice constantly changes .. like our breath, always changing, moving, feeling, sensing. Depending on the quality of our sleep, our diet, our sense of balance, worries, challenges, general health, dreams .. 

as our life changes so will our meditation practice

I look forward to sharing more this week if you would like to join me here.  Or if you have any questions .. 

~ Sarah

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