"I was, in fact, homesick for wildness, and when I found it I knew how intimately - how resonantly - I belonged there. We are charged with this - all of us. For the human spirit has a primal allegiance to wildness, to really live, to snatch the fruit and suck it, to spill the juice." - Jay Griffiths, Wild: an Elemental Journey

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Wild Meditation

My consciously-designed, leisurely schedule since being out work has slowed my body down.  (See earlier post about this decision.)  I notice my shoulders are lower, not raised in tension.  My facial muscles and jaw are relaxed, my breathing is slow and easy, and I smile often.

My body slowing down has been an entrance for my brain to slow down, and the twice-daily meditation is doing WONDERS for my otherwise-racing mind.  I meditate at least once a day for ten minutes, sometimes twice if I remember or make time.  I see this time as preventative medicine, much like taking vitamins or exercising.  It keeps my brain in shape.

Me last weekend on my Gettysburg backpacking trip

I also often spontaneously decide to meditate at various points throughout the day, especially if I notice my mind starting to race or crowd with worries.  Wherever I am, I simply:

  1. Sit up straight and close my eyes
  2. Take three, deep, cleansing breaths
  3. Focus on the sensation of breathing, either by feeling the coolness of the breath coming in and out of my nostrils, or noticing the way my belly expands and contracts with each breath.
  4. As I do this, I notice thoughts coming in to my mind.  I don't judge myself for them.  I simply think, "Oh, there's that thought," and I picture it sliding off of the movie screen of my mind.
  5. Sometimes certain aggressive thoughts come back over and over, and I just think, "Oops, there you are again," and let it slide away again, as many times as necessary.
The important thing is for me to distance myself from the thoughts; to realize that they are not ME.  I practice not engaging with them as they come.  There is a difference between thinking "Oh I notice that I'm thinking about moving," and "I'm thinking about moving.  Oh god where am I going to go?  What if I run out of money?  How will this all work out? etc." Because then I have lost my observer; I am engrossed in the thoughts and no longer at peace.

When I meditate, things slow down. When things slow down enough, I can see the spaces between decisions. There is room enough to choose happiness. Happiness is an available choice all the time.

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