After Retreat – Mindfulness in Daily Life
Mindfulness in Daily Life….
Set a time to meditate at least 5 times weekly. If you are a beginning meditator, start the first week with a 10-minute sitting (*see suggestion on guided meditation apps or podcasts below) and then add 5 minutes, on a weekly basis until you reach 30 to 45 mins. It’s ideal that you develop a daily practice, as you are trying to deepen your ability to see beyond the world of concepts, opinions, should/shouldn’t and as we do this we begin to connect with what is arising in the present moment (in body, mind and heart). This pausing and connecting allows us to respond in a way that wise, healing and compassionate.
Choose a time that is optimal for you. Morning times are great because the mind is more open and settled when you first wake up. You can also choose to meditate at night. Just make sure it’s not right before bed time as you may be too sleepy and get discouraged with the practice.
In seated meditation, you may choose to sit on the floor or on a meditation cushion.
You may decide to purchase a Zafu and Zabuton for comfort or you can also use a blanket and a firm cushion to help lift the hips and relax the knees. I will attach a handout that addresses all the different meditation positions (the two seated positions are on the floor in a cross legged position or on a chair, sitting towards the edge of the chair, with feet directly under the knees and feet facing forward).
Dedicate a space for meditation in your home that is quiet and free from distractions. Think of this as a sacred space where you come to practice. You can add items that symbolize the practice. Prayer beads, paintings, candles, etc. It can also be very simple; with the mediation cushion or chair as the dedicated space.
For the period, you’re meditating, shut off your phone and set it aside. Dedicate this time to cultivate an open heart/mind. You are learning to incline the mind towards what is healthy and healing. This is essential to your emotional, physical and mental well-being.
You build a deeper awareness of what you carry in the body (you may notice parts of the body that are relating to stress by holding tension, parts that are relaxed and open and other parts that are numb. This energy is also held in the mind and heart.
With more awareness and a willingness to attune to what is held in the body, we can respond in ways that alleviate tension and create a sense of ease and stability.
As you settle into the pose and make adjustments to be comfortable yet alert, your mind also has an opportunity to settle. When the body is calm, the mind can relax.
Sitting with a tall spine, relaxing the shoulders and keeping the chin parallel to the earth allows the breath to travel smoothly into the nostrils, chest and belly. If there is more ease, we can sit for longer periods of time.
We sit to witness what is arising with a wakeful, open presence and an attitude of curiosity and kindness. Even if you sit and fidget the whole time it’s okay! This is exactly what practice is about; the ability to sit with what is arising, no matter if it is peaceful, stormy, painful or happy.
Congratulate yourself at the end of the sitting because you were present for your life!