I just got off the phone with my mom, and it seems I've created more confusion than I solved with the last blog post! She had lots of questions, so I said I'd try to do another blog post breaking it down a little bit more.
The Webster definition of meditation is "to engage in contemplation or reflection." I like this definition because it is broad and includes the definition from the Latin root "meditat" which means "contemplated." I think we often associate meditation with reaching enlightenment or sitting silently for hours, but anytime we reflect on something we've done or contemplate a sound, smell, taste, or our breath we are meditating. It sounds so simple, but so often we don't take the time to "smell the roses," or to reflect on our actions or words. Meditation can be found in many moments throughout our day. A pause on a hike to absorb the sounds and smells around us, a moment of silence and calm before eating a meal, or even a moment of focusing on the breath before responding to a question or comment.
We might even be doing these things already without noticing, or without taking the time to really absorb it. These are the types of mediation that can be witnessed naturally throughout the day and easily missed. This is why I like to set aside time in the morning (ideally) or at night (more likely for me...) to sit for a minimum of 5 minutes and reflect, contemplate, meditate, or breathe. When we set aside a chunk of time to do this - I think we are more likely to find moments of mediation in our day to day activities. Just like a healthy breakfast can set the precedent for a healthy day, a morning meditation can set the precedent to find moments of stillness and thought throughout our day.
"How do I sit?" my mom asked me. I think when sitting to meditate it is important to be comfortable. It is hard to reflect on anything but how uncomfortable you are otherwise... I think it is also important to find an attentive posture - trying to sit up straight and grow tall out through the crown of your head. I personally like to sit on a block or boloster, but a blanket or pillow works too. (See the really cool video below, mom!)
So, after you find your comfortable seated position you can begin your meditation. Today's mantra is Lokah Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu! I really encourage you chant along if you are able. If you don't want to chant, try be still while you listen and keep a slow, calm breath. If you do chant , just let go and be as loud or off key or whatever as you want to be. It's been a personal practice of mine to let go of my "singing voice" when I chant - so I encourage you to do the same. And what a great message to repeat to yourself - I love this one because it reminds me to send compassion out the whole day long! Enjoy!
(Wow, didn't realize my elbow/arm got so wonky when I played! Maybe this explains my inflamed carpal tunnel...)
That's all for today. Happy chanting!