Meditation Muscles

by M. M. on October 1, 2011


I’ve been practicing meditation everyday for about a year, creating space for it at the same time, in the same place,  every  morning.

Sometimes all I can give is 10 short minutes of focused thought to my breath, a word, or an image. 

Other mornings I’m surprised to notice that 30 minutes or more has passed.

Even with those longer stretches, though,  I can still get hooked  by the same old urgency to “get going–get on with your day!”–but I’m getting savvier at  going right back into just sensing the breath again, or I picture taking a dive back under the choppy waves of the mental ocean, where all is quiet again.

Over the months, I’ve noticed some subtle positive changes in myself –feeling more peaceful,  especially— just enough to know that I want to continue, that’s for sure.

It could also help to strengthen your commitment when sitting with other meditators.  More and more groups are taking shape all the time, some  probably springing up  in your own neighborhood.   Try a once a month group connection or even a  weekend retreat.   “Bring the body and the mind will follow,” says best-selling author and meditation teacher,  Sharon Salzberg.

In my own neighborhood, I’ve experienced Sangha groups (spiritual communities) who begin their gatherings with a walking meditation.  A “Healing the World” meditation is held every Wednesday at a church nearby on North Broadway Ave.  And some yoga friends  sponsor a potluck and weekly meditation in their homes.   

For those who relish the idea of getting away for a meditation “immersion”, there are centers that are real stand-outs–Kripalu in the Berkshires of Massachusetts is well-known for its reputable programs and teachers.  You can check their schedule of offerings at http://www.kripalu.org/  The Omega Institute in the Hudson Valley is always listed in the top five of retreat centers in the country, and you can see their listings at http://eomega.org/

Wherever you choose to be to enjoy the quiet of a still mind, just know that  meditation can simply be something that you take with you— into the street you’re walking down, the tasks you become absorbed in, the awareness to the food you’re tasting, the focus you bring to your conversations.  It’s always there to practice.

 

 

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