Welcome to your sacred space…
Tips for Creating a Meditation Practice
Find a space that beckons you to sit
Place a special pillow or cushion in the corner of a room. Or sit in a chair where you can have your feet on the floor and your back straight. You can even lie down
Create a tiny altar with flowers, a buddha, a rosary, a stone, a book. I have Pema Chodron’s book Start Where You Are, reminding me that’s how all meditation begins, by starting where we are…
Create a ritual
- Treat your meditation practice the same way you would brushing your teeth
- Pick a regular time and keep it sacred
- First thing in the morning when your mind is calm and clear and open to meditation is a good time
Take this time to prepare for your day, grounding your body and gently waking and centering your mind. Connect to the earth and feel her hold you. Listen to the words of Terry Tempest William’s poem “I Pray to the Birds,” and let them inspire you…
Supports for Everyday Mindfulness
- Slow down
- Talk less
- When you can, do just one thing at a time. Reduce multitasking
- Focus on your breath while doing daily activities
- Relax into a feeling of calm presence with other people
- Use routine events, such as the phone ringing, as “temple bells” to return you to a sense of centeredness
- At meals, take a moment to reflect on where your food came from. For example, if you were focusing on the wheat in a slice of bread, you could imagine it growing in the fields & being harvested, threshed, stored, ground into flour, & baked into loaves
Meditation, Neurology, & the Brain
- Sitting in an erect posture provides internal feedback to the reticular formation – a mesh-like network of nerves in the brain stem which is involved with wakefulness & consciousness. This is a neurological reason behind the classic meditation instruction to sit upright in a dignified way.
- “Brighten the mind” is a traditional phrase used to describe infusing your awareness with energy & clarity. Neurologically, this “brightening” likely involves a surge of norepinephrine throughout the brain, a neurotransmitter that is a general orienting signal fostering awareness.
- Oxygen is to the nervous system what gasoline is to your car. Although just 2% of your body weight, your brain uses roughly 20% of your oxygen. By taking several deep breaths you increase oxygen saturation in your blood, thus “turning on” your brain.
From The Practical Neuroscience of Buddha’s Brain by Richard Mendius