Today's blog post comes from a new writing friend, Laura Probert. It is the first post of a series I guess I'll call, "Make the Most of Your Moments, Mudders!" I love her wisdom, and simply adore her ideas for mommy-meditation! READ ON, Mudders!!
The idea that you do not have to carve out an hour of crossed legged sitting on the floor, sans distractions, thumb and forefingers super glued together to practice meditation might be a shocker. Being able to mediate while driving to the shoulder scrunching sounds of your child screaming in the back seat...priceless. The idea comes from a book by Adyashanti called True Meditation. He teaches us that every single moment of our every day regular lives, yep, even the noisy ones, are an opportunity for meditation. We can now stop referring to meditation under our breath as the “M” word. This is a game changer.
What this meditation master was talking about in his book was more along the lines of body awareness, being able to feel what is going on inside yourself at any given moment of the day, and respond rather than react, whether you are in a sitting mediation, changing a diaper, balancing your checkbook, washing the dishes, or yes, listening to your kid scream bloody murder.
Teaching the idea of body awareness should be a foundation of every healing art, and included in Living and Parenting 101 classes that we get somewhere in our 20’s when the reality of life sinks in and we start fending for ourselves in this big bad world. Instead we get sucked into the vortex of our stressful lives without any real guidance, and the only thing we really feel is out of control, and exhausted. We must feel to heal. Without the skill of body awareness, there is no choice, we are stuck in our chattering minds, intent on solving future problems or worrying about past choices and in the meantime, the body can be stuck in one big clench.
The realization that any moment could be an opportunity to meditate, should cause a sigh of relief. The full time job, two kids, two dogs, get the proper amount of exercise, traveling husband, busy life isn’t going to allow for “proper” mediation. There is no doubt we need to do it, just no way in hell it is going to happen according to the rule books that we have all previously read. This new idea is the way in, and it might turn out to be a huge blessing, giving you a practical practice of present moment awareness that could change the way you live, and parent, giving you opportunities for healing along the way.
Here are 5 ways you can meditate anywhere, anytime, even while your kid is screaming in the back seat:
- Realize that any moment is a chance to feel and be present, so try being present to the feeling in your body as you roll over and sit up in bed in the morning. What parts of you do you notice? What kind of thoughts are already entering your mind? How do you feel inside your body?
- When we drop down inside, shifting our energy and attention from the constant voices or messages in our mind, to the feeling senses, and notice what is going on in the body, we are becoming present to the moment, a moment of meditation. So try doing this as you interact with the first person of the morning, and notice how your body reacts to their voice. Just notice. No judging. No analyzing.
- As you get in touch with your present moment sensations, know that this is a pathway to your healing. As you gather your things and walk out the door, take a moment to fully arrive in your body as it moves. You can be aware in any movement...what hurts, what feels tight, what has ease and flow? As you get more active, are you checking out and being drawn into your mind chatter? Are you distracted by the demands of a child? Breathe. Stay in your body.
- When you are driving in your car stopped at the light, buttocks and jaw clenching to the screech of your kid in his car seat behind you, take a breath. Unclench. Be here, now, and feel what your body is doing in response to the sound or stress. Can you respond to the tantrum without checking out of your body? Can you focus on relaxing and responding, no matter how loud it gets?
- As you face the day’s challenges, at work with a frustrated colleague, at home with a sick child, or maybe on the phone with a distraught friend, stay in your body, relax and breathe, present to the tension so that in the same moment of feeling it, you are already releasing it. Listen closely with your whole self, without the need to form a reply. Your presence is a gift, both to them and to yourself.
You can respond to life, aware and awake, in this way, and instead of reacting, you can meditate in these moments, allowing each of them to be an opportunity for a calm response and choice. Every emotion has a physiological effect inside the body. If you are reacting to life’s moments with anger or frustration, you will feel it inside. Turning stressful moments into “awareness challenges” helps you change that physiology and your health for the better. Does it still count as meditation if I don’t plant my butt cross legged on the floor for a predetermined amount of time every day? I think so, and I know at least one meditation master that calls that true meditation.
Laura Probert, MPT is the owner of Bodyworks Physical Therapy and the author of “Living, Healing and Taekwondo.” Find out more about her profession, writing, and passions at www.bodyworksptonline.com and www.taekwondospirit.com/blog, and follow the progress of her new book at www.facebook.com/warriorlove