Cheryl Melody Baskin, Author of "Shift of Heart."
30-Second Meditation Quickie
Do you feel tense, anxious, worried, or consumed with your to-do list? Do you need to take time out and re-group, but think it will take too long, and now you are worried about getting an "F" in relaxation? What if I told you that I have found an easy exercise that takes only 30-60 seconds in order for me to feel refreshed and renewed? I am now feeling centered and sane again!
Although formal Mindfulness Meditation is definitely beneficial, perhaps you have stayed away from the practice because you've heard that you should sit for at least 30 minutes with your spine straight, palms out, noticing your thoughts, letting go of them like passing clouds, creating a word(s) or mantra to focus on while you notice the rising and falling of your in and out breaths. If you are able to meditate like this, I applaud you and I aim for it myself.
Sometimes, however, I think many of us are driven away from meditating because it feels too hard and time-consuming, and we are too edgy to think that we now have to take time away from our to-do list and spend 30 minutes in a disciplined process.
As someone who likes immediate gratification, here's what I do to renew in less than 60 seconds: I close my eyes and just listen to life's symphony. For 30-60 seconds, I stop the world and bring my attention to all the sounds surrounding me. Life is a varied symphony of sounds. Listening and truly hearing the sounds around us brings us to something wonderful: It brings us into the present moment. The NOW moment. Breathing in the now.
As the comedic pianist, Victor Borge, said: "Tap two stones together three times...and you have a waltz!" When I was a young, I was innately in-tune with life's symphony. I would clink the glasses with my spoon at the kitchen table, (and get yelled at), tap stones of various sizes and shapes together and be interested in the different timbres, listen to the different pitches of the glorious birds, (still do), notice the differences in people's footsteps, or patterns and tones in speaking, and be delighted by comparing unique sounds of laughter.
Stopping the world for a minute and listening to the sounds helps us to refocus and get out of our own way. It can help us heal, re-group and renew. It can help us breathe again. It works for me, and I'd love to hear from you as to how it works for you. 30 seconds. That's all we need to get back to the core of our self, our breath, our NOW moment. Do it every now and then during your day, and let me know if it helps.