*NB: Not a lyric, as far as I know.
Today I’ll start with a quote:
Practice meditation regularly. Meditation leads to eternal bliss. Therefore meditate, meditate.
A lot of the work I’ve been doing in therapy has to do with cultivating mindfulness, and one way to do this is through meditation. In therapy we use meditation techniques to reduce stress, to cope with difficult situations, and to develop our capacity to let go of the negative and hold on to the positive a bit more thoroughly. For this reason, I’ve been making a conscious effort lately to get into meditation and to try to cultivate mindfulness while doing everyday things like commuting, brushing my teeth, eating my meals, etc. By trying to silence my mind of all its nagging and useless thoughts, I’m hoping to be able to be more present in the moment in front of me, and get more out of the experience on the whole.
In paying more attention to my moods, I’ve realized that one thing that really makes a difference to me is whether I run in the morning or the afternoon. Although I used to be firmly in the afternoon running camp, I’ve switched lately to morning running and I’ve found that there’s nothing better for clearing my mind and starting my day. Lately though, as you all know, my running has been a little difficult as I’ve been having a hard time with pacing and my energy levels. I thought about Allissa’s comment on my Fine Lines post and realized I really need to start thinking more about when I *want* to run versus when I feel like I *should* be running to burn calories. Yesterday I skipped a run because I feel like it was a should run and not a want run. This morning I was glad I’d skipped it because I woke up with energy and fresh legs, perfect physical and spiritual conditions for a run.
I’m reading a book right now called Wherever you go, There you are, which is about mindfulness, and as I mentioned before, I’ve been making quite an effort to be more mindful. According to John Kabat-Zinn, author of the book, one way to incorporate meditation into your daily life is to do a walking meditation. With that in mind, this morning I figured why not try a running meditation? My goal was to keep my mind like Teflon–let thoughts come, but slip off the surface and not linger–while focusing on my breathing. I repeated a single word to myself: “Breathe”. I did this for 8.8 miles and finished feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, and not beaten up like I have the past few times I’ve run. My pace was nothing to write home about, but for a run of this length, it wasn’t embarrassing either. I felt steady and calm the entire time, and although there were some moments when thoughts would linger, for the most part I managed to keep my mind pretty clear.
There are so many ways to meditate and to be mindful, and I’m curious to know how many of you do any meditation or any meditative sort of practices during your day? Please feel free to share in the comments.