How about: Just stop, breathe, and try simple?
Just as babies need contiguous hours of sleep for proper brain development, we all need time to just be in stillness (and sleep, but that’s another post).
I love what Jon Kabat-Zinn says about mindfulness, that it’s simply “the art of conscious living. You don’t have to be a Buddhist or a yogi to practice it. In fact, if you know anything about Buddhism, you will know that the most important point is to be yourself and not try to become anything that you are not already.”
While meditation isn’t as complicated as you might think, it’s certainly challenging because it isn’t part of our habitual patterns to pause throughout our day and be in the moment. My teacher Jennilee reminded me the other day of how the Dalai Lama meditates on his death, daily. And she does, too. It’s an interesting framework for stopping, letting go, and allowing the ultimate in simplification.
The funny thing about stopping is that as soon as you do it, here you are. Things get simpler. In some ways, it’s as if you died and the world continued on. If you did die, all your responsibilities and obligations would immediately evaporate. Their residue would somehow get worked out without you. No one else can take over your unique agenda. It would die or peter out with you just as it has for everyone else who has ever died. So you don’t need to worry about it in any absolute way.
If this is true, maybe you don’t need to make one more phone call right now, even if you think you do. Maybe you don’t need to read something just now, or run one more errand. By taking a few moments to “die on purpose” to the rush of time while you are still living, you free yourself to have time for the present. By “dying” now in this way, you actually become more alive now. This is what stopping can do. There is nothing passive about it. And when you decide to go, it’s a different kind of going because you stopped. The stopping actually makes the going more vivid, richer, more textured. It helps keep all the things we worry about and feel inadequate about in perspective. It gives us guidance.
Try: Stopping, sitting down, and becoming aware of your breathing once in a while throughout the day. It can be for five minutes, or even five seconds. Let go into full acceptance of the present moment, including how you are feeling and what you perceive to be happening. For these moments, don’t try to change anything at all, just breathe and let go. Breathe and let be. Die to having to have anything be different in this moment; in your mind and in your heart, give yourself permission to allow this moment to be exactly as it is, and allow yourself to be exactly as you are. Then, when you’re ready, move in the direction your heart tells you to go, mindfully and with resolution. —Jon Kabat-Zinn, Wherever You Go, There You Are
- Balancing life with mindfulness (annesturetucker.com)
- Learn how to meditate: Simple and Effective Strategies (by Elizabeth Scott on About.com)