Super Soul Sunday
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Resolved: To Meditate in the New Year
Posted: Mon 01/02/2012 07:00 AM
Elizabeth Lesser, co-founder of the Omega Institute, shares a gratitude meditation that will help you feel centered and peaceful in the new year.
Attracted to the promise of inner peace, stress-reduction, happiness and better health, many people make "learn to meditate" or "start meditating again" their New Year's resolution. But most find it hard to jump in and even harder to sustain. The idea of sitting still for 10 or 20 minutes with an unruly mind can seem boring, aggravating, confusing, pointless, or even impossible. Here's a practice that can help you begin. It's shorter and a little more lively than traditional routines, but it has all the same benefits. You'll be amazed how it brings a sense of calm and optimism into your daily life. And if you like it, you can then go on to longer periods of stillness, using a variety of techniques and traditions.
Carve out 5-10 minutes in the morning when you wake up, or at night, right before you go to bed. Set a timer or check your watch and decide how long you are going to meditate. Sit in a chair or on a pillow on the floor with an alert, yet relaxed, posture.
Take a few deep breaths in and let each breath out with an audible sigh. When you breathe in, feel the breath fill your lungs fully, and when you breath out, release any tension and let your body relax.
Now, close your eyes and let your breath return to its normal rhythm. On each in-breath, picture your lungs filling with air, filtering out what the body can't use and sending the oxygen to the heart, where the enriched blood is pumped throughout the whole body and brain. With each inhalation become aware of the deliciousness of the air and the miracle of your body's intelligence. Let each inhalation be a a prayer of gratitude for the gift of life.
On each out-breath feel toxins, stress and negativity leaving the body and the mind. Experience how the atmosphere absorbs your exhalations. Sense the vastness of space and allow yourself to drift out beyond your body and your ego, into the landscape of timelessness, what some call the landscape of the soul. Let each exhalation connect you to your soul and to the soulful nature of everyone you know.
Breathe in gratitude and out gratitude for the rest of your meditation.
Do this exact meditation every day for one month. If feel encouraged to continue, there are many books and audio programs that can help you develop a practice. Or consider taking a class locally or signing up for a longer retreat at a meditation or conference center.