You’ve heard of meditating. After more than two years of practicing meditation, I got just a little calmer in my mind. Once in a while. Briefly. Today, 10/27/2019, I meditated for 20 minutes. 90% of this time I was worrying, working on a couple of problems (social/professional…). After a few minutes, several times, I returned my conscious attention to my breath, and to my emotional experiences: anxiety, sadness, anger…My breath has always, at least for a few seconds, calmed my mind, at least a little.
I also remembered what Thich That Hahn (spelling?), a Vietnamese author and Buddhist (I think), said in the book I read: If you are “trying” to meditate, you are meditating. Meditating is a practice of mindfulness, and calming the mind–it’s not a destination or ultimate goal. He also made a double-edged suggestion: as you inhale, say to yourself “I am relaxing;” as you exhale, SMILE. First time I read that, I thought of how irritated and judgmental I get when someone is taking a picture and tells me to smile. But I then said to myself to smile inwardly; perhaps to envision myself from a distance, noticing my challenges to calm the mind, and smile. Smile–to see the effort, to support it, to think of it as slightly amusing. That’s what I did several times today.
The other powerful tool I learned in 2001 is this: shaking meditation. James Gordon, the developer of Mind-Body Medicine, has trained me and hundreds of people in many alternative ways of healing, including meditation. The idea is this: we humans have so much energy in our physical bodies that we do not pay attention to. We focus so much energy in our thinking processes. But when we decide to allow our bodies to simply move, a lot of our overall energy is used up. Thus, only after shaking for a while (try 5 minutes at least; try 15–use an egg timer, so you don’t think so much about the time itself), can we begin to calm our mental processes. When I do remember to shake-meditate, I often go to sleep and stay there, better; more deeply.