Every time we sit to meditate is unique. Pema Chodron reminds us that what happened in the minutes and hours before sitting comes with us to the mediation cushion. Maybe you just woke up, or maybe you rushed in after a hectic day. Maybe your mind is spinning, maybe you are at ease. Check in, as you would with a good friend. This can help you arrive and stabilize your mind:
Here are some brief steps: How am I?
- Scan your physical body starting with your feet and moving through whole body. Notice where there is ease, discomfort or little awareness. No need to evaluate or describe to yourself, just notice. When you are complete say: ”Yes, all’s welcome.”
- Notice your emotional body. What emotions are here, right now? Where do you feel them? What’s their raw energy? Again, no need to dissect or get lost, a light noticing is all. When you are complete say: ”Yes, all’s welcome.”
- Be aware of your thoughts. Is your mind speedy or sluggish? Is the mind still with a recent interaction? Is there space between thoughts or no space like a quick moving train? Neither good or bad, just noticing. When you are complete say: ”Yes, all’s welcome.”
I give thanks for this guidance to Buddhist nun and teacher Pema Chodron. This is from her excellent book: How to Meditate, A Practical Guide to Making Friends With Your Mind.
Also thanks to Tara Brach, Buddhist Psychologist for her “Yes Practice.”
~ Martha Whitney