More on Day to Day Meditative Awareness
As you know, one of my most basic systems is the “Three-Legged Stool.” The premise is if we take care of our body, our soul, and our mind in various ways, we can be healthy overall – in a holistic sense. The first level of the Three-Legged Stool is what we have shared HERE in our blog. The reason why I consider this the basis that can be expanded on is that most 21st Century smart-device users need to become calmer, more present, and settled. So, the first recommended practice is in relaxing and easing down each leg of the stool.
Many of my clients and friends who use the system regularly and consistently, especially at the beginning, find benefit within two weeks of practice. They also feel immediate benefit while they’re doing the techniques. To speed things up, however, to make the legs of your stool even more sturdy, I recommend “doubling up.”
Doubling up is when you’ve done each of the three exercises once, then sometime during the day do another repetition or a modified version of it. For instance, for the “soul’s leg” of the stool, we recommend a brief study of Bitachon – trust. This is the antidote for dealing with worry. If a person is trusting in God, him or herself, and their own support systems, they’re able to calm their spirit and feel at ease. Reading a short piece or listening to short audios on Bitachon before bedtime gives us a “calm balm” that can benefit our sleep. But how might we double up sometime during the day? We can listen to a short audio while doing other tasks such as driving, washing the dishes, or cooking. We can also be part of a chats or groups, or get notifications when Bitachon themes come up. Rabbi Shais Taub has a series on “Duties of the Heart – The Gate of Trust.” And if you’re not Jewish or interested in these sources, certainly your faith has inspiration for you to gain confidence in G-d and yourself. There is potential inspiration everywhere.
The next technique is “The Breathing Contest” which you do at the end of your evening‘s activities just before falling asleep. That is a slow inhalation through the nose, and a slower exhalation from the mouth. Slowing it down, counting the cycles, and monitoring how well you do. That relaxes the body. However, during the day if you want to double up, you may not be able to “count the cycles” of your breath since you’re engaged in day-to-day life. At least do my “Basic Breathing for Beginners.” Just simply note throughout the day when your mouth is open. Close it, and slow down your exhales. If you have time to do so, you might want to close your eyes and listen to nature sounds or soothing music, imagine a safe place, and go to a beautiful location in your mind’s eyes, ears, mouth, nose, and feelings.
Last but not least, the mind needs to be settled. In our last installment HERE, we spoke about day-to-day mindful awareness. Many of us are so distracted by our digital devices, we have a really hard time sitting and settling our minds. Many people have a hard time with the “formal” seated meditation that I recommend. My “Beginner’s Meditation on the Breath”™ (which is always free HERE) is helpful for the first “repetition.” However, if you want to double up, but don’t have an opportunity sit quietly with your eyes closed for another six minutes during the busy day, we use moment-to-moment mindful awareness as we mentioned last time. In your day-to-day activities, try to stay present with activities for a minute or two, here and there throughout the day. Last time we mentioned dishwashing, toothbrushing and cooking. To get more of the idea of how to perform it more mindfully present, here’s another day-to-day activity.
Consider mindful driving. When you get in the car, don’t just turn it on, look at the mirrors, check if they are in the right place. Settle yourself in the seat, notice if there’s pressure on your back, move the seat appropriately. How are your feet located? Are they straight-ahead or are they leaning somewhere? (I will tell you a very relevant story about this in an upcoming entry.) Then, when you’re settled and ready, turn on the car. See if you can be more mindful with checking your mirrors while driving, when you’re pulling out of a parking place, etc. We can be even more considerate of drivers around us, allowing them to come into traffic if they seem left out on the entry ramp “in the cold.” There are many ways to have a more mindful drive.
Can you come up with something in your day using the “meditative motion of the mind” to come back to your present moment in your regular daily activities? Let me know what you’re doing to double up! Try to “reMIND” yourself to hack your Three-Legged Stool by “doubling up” in day-to-day life. It will move you toward your peace of mind more consistently and speedily.
In honor of individuals (like me, or anyone living in our ADD-like world) for whom a lengthy meditation is a challenge, I am sharing my “Three-Minute Refreshing Pause” meditation as your gift this month of October. CLICK HERE to download your audio now.
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