Formal meditation can be daunting. I hear people talk about it all the time as a big thing– something we all want to do, but we don’t have the time, or we don’t feel like we’re good at it. Of course, it doesn’t have to be like this. We are mistaken when we think that we have to DO something or BE a certain way in meditation for it to be real or right. Have you had the thought that you’re not doing it right? That if you were lost in thought, it doesn’t count? For me, those thoughts are the most hampering, and of course, they are often unconscious! There are times when it feels like a fight– my mind wants to roam, but I insist on yanking it by the leash and trying to tie it to the breath. Now, STAY! That’s no way to treat my sweet, crazy little mind-puppy! It deserves gentleness, humor, and a soft touch.
Sitting meditation can be taken lightly– just a few moments of rest and freedom to simply do nothing and taste awareness. We can play and experiment with approaches to sitting meditation. One thought that I found so helpful in a recent meditation retreat is to rejoice when you discover that your mind is lost. Really! Instead of saying, “Oh crap, I was off thinking again…what’s wrong with me today?” we can rejoice because the moment we notice that we are lost, we are immediately found again. As soon as we “catch” ourselves, we’re back to being aware, and that is a good thing! I really love this, and it has helped me to approach my practice with more ease and joy– hooray, I am mindful again! Over, and over, and over…fresh and new each time.