Dolphins are conscious breathers. Each breath is invited in and hugged good-bye.
Skip to the last paragraph if you want to start meditating right NOW! LOL
Imagine if we had to decide to breathe. I know I would just keel over. My monkey mind is so busy stopping to look at whatever and have an opinion about that whatever. It would forget to tell me to breathe. So the idea of conscious breathing that becomes unconscious intrigues me.
I have studied meditation for about forty years – no kidding. I have studied it. I have read about it. I understand the mechanics of it. I have stared at candles; made a sacred space; joined mass groups of meditators. (I won’t go into explicit detail about all of the physical and mental health benefits of regular meditation but email me if you want more information.) Transcendental Meditation, Meta Meditation, Primordial Sound Meditation are just a few I have studied. I kept asking myself, “If this is so natural and easy, why is it so hard for me to do?” I would go for a walk and immerse my senses in nature.
Then, just this past December, my fifteen-year-old daughter toppled from her high perch as a cheerleader and bounced on her head, concussed. I was in class at Duke Integrative Medicine. Only two weeks on site in the Duke class were required. One of those happened to be the week Matti was brain damaged. In class they were teaching meditation of all sorts. Perfect timing. I was frantic with worry which did not calm my daughter in any way.
I began again. Because being blessedly human, I can, begin again. And again. The quantum soup of myself can be reformed, but only if I don’t do all of the work. Only if I turn it over to the big soup stirrer and relax. The relax part seemed hard. Jeez, this was trauma and drama. My monkey mind loved that. It was chattering and scratching its armpits and swinging from the trees. Exhausted (and exhausting me) but not doing anything of use. So why not just not do anything, anyhow? I sat. I prayed. I followed the loving directions that were birthed in ancient wisdom.
The idea is that you accept and release. Notice and let go. Be the watcher of your thoughts and know that you are not your thoughts. You have your story but you are not your story. You are infinite wisdom and divine possibility. You are a part of the space between your thoughts called “the gap” by The Chopra Center.
THE LAST PARAGRAPH — Meditate with me. Mediate with the world. Set a timer that will be a gentle reminder. I like Insight Timer — insightap. Set it for whatever time you want to give it at first. Just give it some time. By giving it some time, you are claiming your space, time and place. You are committing to give this to yourself. I practice thirty minutes each morning. The Chopra Center taught me RPM – Rest Pee Meditate. They also say, RAW – Right After Work (around that 5:00 pm witching hour). My RAW practice is still birthing.
Sit comfortably in a quiet place.
Close your eyes or settle your gaze downward.
Gentle your heart with loving intention. (I say something like, “Please help me be in loving acceptance of the imperfection that is life. Help me be kind and lift others with my loving open heart.”)
Then consciously breathe, like the dolphins. Three times. Inhale slowly, a deep breath filling your gut until your belly pokes out full of air and your breastbone rises. Then exhale through your mouth making a whoosh sound. Now do that again but listen to your breath as it enters and exits. This gentles your body — somatic quieting.
Now breathe naturally and notice the breath working on it’s own entirely on your behalf. A miracle!
Thoughts will come. Just notice them. If they are worth remembering they will come back after your meditation. Take your intention back to your breath. Let your breath do what it does naturally. Just notice it as well.
After the timer sounds, open your eyes look around and give yourself a couple of minutes to return. Thank yourself and the breath that led you here.