Beginning Again – Already

It’s only Day 3 and I’ve already skipped a day of blogging, so today I begin again!

So far I’ve enjoyed the format of Sharon’s meditations in that they are brief and easily digestible. Knowing that I don’t have to set aside a whopping 30 minutes or more each day to fulfill this challenge makes it easier for me to sit on my zafu (thanks Mony924 for the vocab tip) without hemming and hawing about it. While this hasn’t happened for me yet, I think Sharon’s meditations may act as an entry point or warmup to a longer session right afterwards. For now I’m starting small by just making sure I sit with the recording each day.

I’m taking note of language and themes that seem to appear in each session and just recognizing them as building blocks for the overall practice. Phrases like “It’s just one breath,” or the direction to “Notice where you are feeling the sensation of the breath the most today” (interestingly, this one has been different each time for me) are repetitive cues that seem to just be the backbone of this meditation style. I find them immensely helpful now and I’m anticipating that they will become more natural exercises as the challenge progresses.

As a practitioner of yoga, I find it to be uniquely challenging to allow the breath to just be. Yoga and the tradition of meditation and breath work that accompany asana emphasize our ability to quiet the mind, balance our bodies energetically, and even stimulate physiological changes through active manipulation of the breath. The idea of relinquishing all control over the breath is in itself a fantastic exercise for me and is allowing me to start from scratch in many ways.

Today’s meditation focused on the use of a mental note during breathing. I used one of Sharon’s suggestions by silently repeating the word “now” on each inhalation and exhalation. It did indeed support my attention to the breath but also had the unexpected benefit of acting as a sort of mantra after a few rounds. Any time we repeat a word enough times, our perspective on the sound of the word changes and this can lead to all kinds of interesting insights. The word “now” has great meaning in this context, however, and repeating it brought me to contemplation while still keeping me focused on my breath in each moment. I’m hoping to carve out some time to play with this a bit more.

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