In the last few months I began meditating. I don’t know why it has taken me so long, perhaps because I thought of meditation as a mysterious and challenging spiritual practice. I imagined all sorts of complicated rules you were supposed to follow to meditate, and pictured llamas in remote Tibet, stoic and unmoving for hours. Of course I also knew people who had interwoven meditation into their lives, but it never seemed something I wanted to do. Now I practice meditation by just sitting in a chair for fifteen minutes, and doing nothing.
For many years I have taken quiet time in the morning. I journal, read, do tai chi, and think about how I want my day to go, as a natural part of my daily routine. But those activities are “doing,” and I had been yearning for something else. One day out of the blue I started meditating. I just went to my comfortable chair and sat quietly for fifteen minutes.
My mind wasn’t still—it was as busy as ever. As time has passed, though, those thoughts and worries have become boring. I allow them to pass unnoticed, like transient clouds floating across the sky of my mind. I don’t pay them much attention, and they seem to move on by.
Over time I’ve added a couple of rituals that help in this sitting time. I focus on my breath, and feel it moving in out in an easy, relaxed rhythm. Then I decided to add a few words to go with my breath. It took a while to find words that resonated with the stillness I was creating, but I finally found something that fits. I think, “I’m,” when I inhale and “home,” when I exhale. For me, “I’m home” symbolizes acceptance, being settled and comfortable in my mind, body, and spirit.
I’ve found that my quiet fifteen minutes in the morning extends peace into the rest of my day. Sometimes during the day I will breathe, “I’m home” in the midst of a frustrating or anxious time, and it’s as if I have connected to an anchor of stability and centeredness. What I seem to be doing is making new brain pathways that help connect my thoughts, feelings, and body, into a more unified whole.
Meditation is still mysterious to me, but now in a way that I want to embrace. The simple act of sitting in a chair and giving myself fifteen minutes of uninterrupted quiet, opens me to a deeper relationship with myself. All I need to do is show up.