by Leia Morrison
Take some time to move around a little bit. Do each of the following movements a few times. On your hands and knees, do some hip circles in each direction. Begin to connect your movement to your breath with some bittilasana (cat/cow). Inhale and bring your chest forward as you press your sits bones back (cow) then exhale your breath as you round your back and look at your thighs (cat). Repeat 5-10 times then return to a neutral spine on all fours. Now imagine that you have a tail and you are looking back to sneak a peak at it as you bring your right shoulder and the right side of your pelvis towards each other. Repeat movement to the other side 5-10 times.
Come to a seated position with your legs crossed. Most of us benefit from having a pillow, a few blankets or a bolster under us to sit on so that we are more comfortable and can sit longer. Once you’re situated close your eyes, take a big breath in through your nose and then open your mouth and “sigh” out through your open mouth (make noise!). Don’t rush this part. Take your time to fully remove all of the air from your lungs. Do this 4-5 times and each time your breath leaves your lungs visualize all tension, noise and distractions leaving your body and mind with your breath. Now you’re ready to sit still.
Take your attention to the sound of your own breathing. Notice your own thoughts without attaching to them on purpose. At first you are going to hear a lot of chatter. You may even find yourself “talking” a lot up there… there may even be a little internal arguing. Each time you notice that you are being pulled from the sound of your own breath repeat a phrase in your mind (not out loud) that gently pulls you back to the task at hand (listening to your breath). I like to imagine Morgan Freeman simply saying “HERE”. You know Morgan, he isn’t pushy or demanding but he’s definitely someone I’m going to listen to. Whatever works for you. Do not analyze and comment on your inner experiences as they are happening. Spend 5-30 minutes here.
As we close our meditation lets focus our now quiet (er) mind at our heart center. Think of an experience you have had in real life that has made you feel true peace, love, hope, joy and optimism. Maybe it was the first time you held a newborn baby’s hand or when you watched the sun sink into the horizon line of the ocean. Recall any real life experience where you were 100% joy. The corners of your mouth may turn up into an actual smile, don’t fight it! You may feel a warm sensation at the center of your heart. In your mind’s eye give this sensation of pure feeling a color and “see” that color right at your heart. Without any effort, imagine that this color, that is packed full of love and good wishes is expanding in all directions from your body’s center towards all beings. Get specific if there is someone in your life or in this world that you would like to share this extreme happiness with, share it. Feel and see this unlimited love and kindness spread out towards all people of the world, irrespective of their nationalities, religions, political beliefs, ethnicities, socio-economic or geographical lines. Spend some time here.
When you are ready, slowly begin to deepen your breathing. Notice the sensation of your body sitting on the floor. Become aware of the sounds in the room (without opening your eyes). Know that you have taken the time to spread peace, love, hope, joy and optimism and that your efforts are not in vain. Bring your hands toward your heart. May the benefits of this sit not only be of service to you but may they be of service to all who suffer.