Select Page

I’ve recently reconnected with my meditation practice.  And it is indeed a practice.  Unlike riding a bike, I was not able to get back on the cushion and quiet my mind with ease.  I can’t tell you I’ve reached enlightenment, or even found much clarity.  But now each morning I spend a few minutes in solitary stillness, attempting to allow my thoughts to sift through the sieve of my mind, and afterwards my day feels a bit easier, more intentional, less crazy-making.

In my past, specifically when I lived and studied at a Zen Buddhism Center for a year, I practiced sitting meditation for many hours per day.  Now 20-minutes seems like an eternity.  It’s not like I had a completely crystally luminous mind during those many hours in the monastery, either.  I’ll admit that I too often spent that Zazen time indulging the aches and pains in my body and obsessing over the monk I was currently crushing on.  After leaving the Zen Center, I continued my own abbreviated meditation practice which ultimately felt more spacious and free.  However, when life started challenging for me about a year ago I let it go.  Maybe this was a subconscious strategy to avoid feeling the difficult emotions of that time?  In retrospect, meditation could have actually helped me cope with the challenges with more integrity.  In any case, I made it through the muck and have recently been re-inspired to take up the oh-so-difficult-and-beneficial-sitting-practice.

My inspiration to reconnect my sit-bones with the meditation cushion came from a couple surprising sources that I’d like to share with you:

First, in an attempt to adopt more self-discipline in my business (and in keeping up on this blog/newsletter, etc.) I listened to The Miracle of Self-Discipline by Brian Tracey.  In this talk, Tracey outlines many useful practices his “no-excuses way to getting things done.”  The one that struck me the most was his practice of sitting still without distractions for 30-60 minutes when faced with a difficult business (or personal) decision.  Additionally, he recommends a regular 20-30 minute daily meditation practice.

Secondly, I stumbled upon a few very accessible and relatable articles about meditation as I flipped through the September edition of Esquire magazine on my brother’s coffee table.  Although I am regularly awed by pieces in the traditional and highly respected publications like Shambala Sun, Tricycle and Mindful, something about the frank prose in Esquire enticed me.  I urge you to read these and tell me what you think.

If you feel the itch to take it further, try sitting for a little while.  There’s not much to it.  You don’t need a special cushion; a regular pillow straight backed chair will suffice.  Lengthen your spine, gently lower your eyelids, keep your breath light and even.  You can use a phrase, or mantra, to help quiet your mind.  Or you can name the thoughts as they come, such as saying to yourself “planning,” “remembering,” etc.  Just remember that meditation itself is not about achieving anything.  Instead it about bringing yourself back to the present moment again and again and again and again.  It is a practice…and it is the most difficult and most beneficial thing that I do.