One of the habits Guy Reams (365 Commitment Founder) instituted in his life last year was a practice of daily meditation. He shared some intriguing experiences that got me interested in trying it out myself. This is not the first time I have ventured into the meditation waters.
Back in 92’ I became interested in Zen Buddhism and Zen meditation in particular. I had a hard time getting up early enough to practice before my long days as a full time university student, and late nights either working to support myself and/or completing school assignments. Early mornings seemed the only viable time to meditate. I got so fed up with the struggle to get up early, that I decided to stay up all night – and all the following day – to reset my body clock. It worked! So, I began the practice in earnest at 5am.
I applied myself to the classic rigorous Zen sitting position, back straight, legs folded with feet resting on thighs and hands just so. Focusing on breath. It was pretty uncomfortable. Which is a common complaint. I remember reading about a Zen monk who after decades of trying to perfect his sitting position literally broke his own leg to get in into the “right” position. Mentally, I just was not deriving much in the way of positive results. Between the unceasing discomfort and the uninspiring mental experience, I lost my motivation and gave it up after a month or two. Hats off to those who can manage the rigors of Zen.
So, 26 years on, I have once again embarked on a meditation practice. But now I have pragmatism! This time, I sit in a comfortable leather chair. I place my feet, with soles together on a footrest that is a little below butt level, much more comfortable. My back is straight, and my arms are supported by the chair and my knees. It’s a pose that is very comfortable for me, yet mirrors some of the, in my view, important aspects sitting properly to meditate.
Mentally I derive a big benefit each morning in only 15 minutes! I follow a guided meditation routine – so I know exactly how long it will be. If I want to go longer, I simply set Youtube for .75 speed and get 20 minutes. I focus on the center of my chest, in space, and relax my body, and breath. Then I begin to elicit “higher” emotions like kindness, care, appreciation, gratitude, and thankfulness. To generate these emotions I recall specific people, situations, and memories from my past, sometimes music and song as well. I am focused on just feeling these emotions. I often get a pleasurable goosebumps/chills sensation, then after a few minutes of basking in these feelings, I project the energy derived into the space around me, as I continue to breathe. Sometimes I enter an interesting state that feels like dreaming. Finally, I “marry’ the energy in and around me with an intention: “my body is healed,” “my day is filled with synchronicity,” or, “I am getting closer to a new future” after imagining the results of the intention(s), I gradually emerge from the mediation feeling very good!
The focus on gratitude and healing is a great way to orient my mind and attitude and begin the day. Now I am hooked. It is a part of my day that I relish and have not missed for 21 days in a row. I intend to keep this up for 365 days and see where it leads. Care to join me?
Ben Wagner (30)
Member 365 Commitment