It’s time to start practicing what I preach. For the most part I do follow my own advice but the one area where I often fall down is my meditation practice.
I had a session with a Chinese Medicine Herbalist and acupuncturist last week. Francis from Balance Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine suggested that I had way too much going on in my head and that I needed to slow down and be more present. Now I am very committed to practicing mindfulness and try to remain in the present moment as much as possible but I have to admit, lately I have let stress get the better of me and my mind has been a little scattered.
I said to the acupuncturist “I know, I know, but in a couple of weeks’ time my whole routine is going to change and I will be in a much better head space and I will have a lot more time to dedicate to meditation.” He responded with a wry smile and these words:
“You need to get to a point where you can be completely present and at peace standing in the middle of a busy street. Anyone can feel at peace on a quiet beach.”
I realised how silly my words sounded – I was saying that I was too busy and too stressed to dedicate time to meditation, which is precisely why I needed to meditate.
I laid down in the treatment room and after telling him that I had somewhere I needed to be so I could only do a quick session, he strategically placed the little needles into my skin, turned off the lights and left me with my own thoughts. I practiced a breathing technique he encouraged me to use – it was simply breathing in for 5 counts and out for 5 counts, breathing deep into my belly and feeling it rise and fall. I stretched this out to 7 counts in and 7 counts out.
Every time a thought entered my head – and trust me there were plenty – I forgave myself and re-focused on my breath. This is really important when you are trying to meditate. Don’t beat yourself up if you are struggling to get rid of the inner chat, forgive yourself and move on. Anyway, I then started to work with some of my Mum’s recommended techniques, breathing healing white light in through the crown of my head and letting it flood my body. This helped as it gave me a visual cue to keep me on track. Still, I struggled.
When Francis returned to the room he asked me “was that hard” almost as a rhetorical question. Yes, yes it was. It was half an hour, in a quiet dark room on my own, but I left thinking how it was precisely what I needed. I thought to myself, I’ve been writing about mindfulness and meditation but somehow over the past couple of months I’ve totally neglected it myself. No more!
Over the last few nights I have started my night time chakra balancing meditation in bed and I’ve been sleeping better and waking feeling more refreshed. I have felt less anxious during the day – anxiety can be debilitating and if you tend to suffer from a little (or a lot) of anxiety and you do not meditate, do yourself a favour and start.
So this week, my reminder is simple. Be more mindful in everything you do…and practice what you preach. You don’t need to set aside an hour every day to meditate, of course if you can do that then that’s awesome and I encourage it, but just start by putting your full attention on what you are doing and staying in the present moment. I’ll leave you with these words:
“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have.
Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.”
― Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment