Floating into meditation
The start date of February 15 is fast approaching, and there’s quite a bit of work that has to be done in preparation for this course—70 hours worth if I counted right (but don’t trust my math—I am an English professor after all!). It may be Charlie’s Australian accent or my positive intentions, but working through the material and actually meditating twice a day is something I’m really not minding.
Don’t get me wrong: it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. I’m finding that routine is much harder than I originally thought it would be. With the office in a bit of disarray (cue piles of PhD papers, half-alive plants, and a few bins of god-knows-what), I don’t have a meditation space pegged down just yet. So far, I’m finding that the best place to meditate is, in fact, the tub, which brings about a bit of a problem when following Charlie's online prompts:
Charlie: So feel yourself grounded down.
Me: Mmmm, I’m just going to float here instead.
Charlie: With a long spine, feel the ground underneath you.
Me: Still floatin’
Charlie: Feel your belly rise on your inhale.
Me: Is that water in my belly button?
Okay, so my mind isn’t ENTIRELY quiet yet, but I am still happy with where I am (and that’s usually in the bath, or the lake, or the ocean…I think I should explore this obsession with water a little more—next post!).
I truly believe that we come into things the way that we need to. Some of us are ready to dive in head-first. Some of us need to wet our toes. And which category we fit in morphs daily (mmm my love-hate relationship with categories and labels emerges!). It can be discouraging to think of how we are so quick to limit ourselves with expectations and judgments: meditation must be THIS long, must be done THIS way, must be taught by THIS person. And all of THIS is a complete misconception. I’m learning that you can “meditate” by taking a few minutes to just breathe and remain aware, focusing on the number of inhales and exhales, feeling the body's reaction to stillness.
How I enter my practice will differ from yours, other yogis’, gurus’…and that is absolutely perfect. Worry and self-expectation present themselves in other areas of my life, so why should I bring it to the meditative moments that are meant to soothe, stretch and sustain me? Ahh life lessons, how I loathe...ehhhmmm I mean love...thee.
Yes, I fully imagine myself getting into full lotus one day on my meditation pod in front of a nicely-crafted altar in the office, but for right now, I’ll avoid the academic/foliage-covered chaos and happily bob in my bubble-infused water and breathe the way I need to, remembering that I am doing this to get closer to me and, in turn, the grander “we.”
The point here: if you are undertaking a bit more active awareness lately (a la sitting and breathing—which you should TOTALLY do sometime) and don’t want to sit, try floating; it may be your perfect entry point.