“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour.” Old Zen Adage
Here they are again. And the hype begins. To one degree or another, unless we’re a fully awakened being unaffected by all outer circumstances, the Holidays Season is chaotic. Even if we don’t celebrate the holidays in any traditional sense or do so without the need for becoming an instant consumer, their affects are in the air. All the buzz including traffic, music, parties, street and store decorations; it’s hard to be immune.
So if I’m having one of those days where the outer chaos turned on the busy chatter in my mind, I practice Natural Meditation (NM). Doesn’t matter if I’ve already meditated that morning, meditation is an ally any time of day.
The nice thing about NM is that once you understand the parameters, you can do it walking around or sitting still. In the beginning you might want to try sitting quietly for 10-20 minutes in a comfortable position, eyes closed and simply observe every thought or distraction that is creating havoc with the moment. Take deep, slow breaths and simply sit quietly, giving yourself an opportunity to relax all current activity, agitation, and thinking. Without judgment or reaction to whatever arises on your mental screen, allow yourself to be with everything that’s vying for your attention. Similar to how you’d be when sitting in a movie theater, allow every thought, feeling or sensation to be as it is without having to do anything about them. Your only task is to sit quietly for however long you decide to sit prior to starting – maybe just 10 minutes at first.
Give yourself a chance to experience the moment-to-moment desires, thoughts, and possible discomforts just as they occur. Notice the urge to get up or interact with a thought or impulse, without having to react to it. See if you can sit quietly and observe the what’s happening without engaging. All you do is sit quietly and take notice. The idea is to consciously observe and experience what goes on within and around you. You may begin to see your interaction with your thoughts and sensations as a mirror for how you respond to distractions of any kind when not meditating. Since awareness is the first step toward change, this on-site laboratory for studying our behavior gives us an opportunity to view our otherwise unconscious reactions. Once aware of our reactions, we have the advantage of choosing to follow a thought or impulse or merely watch what floats by.
Since meditation allows us to calm down, it becomes a peaceful break or puts a brake on impulsive behaviors. Cultivating this simple practice of NM will eventually allow you to create a peaceful place within yourself in the middle of any situation. Then, when it becomes easier, you can apply it to every day life whether sitting or walking around.