Enter the monkey mind

Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better, it’s about befriending who we are.
~ Pema Chödrön

Meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg is holding her annual 28 Day meditation challenge beginning February 1, and I decided to participate this year. I meditate as part of my Reiki practice, but I’m not very structured about doing it at the same time of day. I asked my husband if he wanted to participate in the challenge too. He agreed, so we’re going to have couples’ time on our zafus this month. (We sure do know how to have a good time!) Our daughter is on the bus by 6:45 AM during the week, which gives us quiet time where we can sit for 20 minutes or so before getting on with the day.

I’m going to blog throughout February about our experience with the meditation challenge. I don’t think I’ll blog every day but will provide a regular update. I’m tempted to live tweet (“There I go, thinking.”) but I guess that would defeat the purpose.

I decided to get a head start this morning, and hauled the zafu into the living room. My husband prefers to meditate in our bedroom, but I find the space somewhat claustrophobic. Plus, I’m too tempted when it’s still dark to crawl back under the covers.

So, I sat and did a combination of a Reiki gassho meditation with (silent) chanting and zazen. It’s been a while since I sat on the zafu and my back was feeling a bit creaky. My dog stood nearby, trying to figure out why I was sitting on the floor (“Is it playtime, Mom?”) but soon lay down at my feet.

Monkey mind was rather active, but in the brief spaces between the mental gymnastics, I was able to observe and appreciate the world slowly waking up. It’s something I rarely notice because I’m usually getting ready for work, or already mired in the internet (checking email, or what my friends across the pond posted on Facebook while I was still asleep.)

After my meditation, I took a shower and felt inspired to do a morning gratitude practice. I always feel grateful in a hot shower, so it was easy to keep the list of gratitudes coming – for my family, my friends, my (relatively good) health, the roof over our head, food on the table, my practice, the opportunity to help others in their healing journey, and for the universe’s endless love, abundance and support.

On my way into the office, I saw a bumper sticker on a car that said, “If anything can go well, it will.”

Meditation already seems like a much saner way to start the day. The world can wait – or, it can pause for a moment and sit down with me.

(Photo credit: ligs on Flickr)

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