It's hard to go from your normal state of mind to a more peaceful state of mind all of a sudden—particularly if you are stressed. Peacefulness can just strike you as too weird or too quiet. So without a warm-up, you might spend most of the Basic Minute just settling in.
If you are feeling energetic and want to do a very active warm-up, you can force a belly laugh, sing a song, jump up and down or just shake out some tension. Each of these quickly triggers a change of mind—tossing out whatever was there and making you much more receptive to your Basic Minute.
If you'd like a quieter warm-up, stretch gently in your chair or take one very slow, deep breath. Or you can raise your shoulders and drop them with a sigh. If you're sitting at your desk, you can put a stray pencil back in its pencil holder or clean something off your desktop.
Whatever you choose, try to do it in a ceremonial way. Instead of just diving into a Basic Minute with no preparation, you are pausing first to affirm your intention. You are affirming that, in doing a Basic Minute, you believe that something valuable and profound is about to happen. With even a small gesture, you are saying to yourself, "I'm going to do a Minute now."
Doing a warm-up also reminds you to go for it. I know this may sound like a strange instruction for meditation, but many people find it helpful. The Basic Minute seems to work better if you put some energy into it. So when you're ready, do a warm-up...then give it your all.
To return abruptly to ordinary life after an experience of stillness can be quite a shock. Even just opening your eyes after doing a Basic Minute can be startling. So I suggest that you ease the transition with one of these cool-downs.
Open your eyes slowly. Stretch. Take a moment to notice how you feel—see if you feel differently now than you did before you did the Basic Minute. Look out the window or slowly take in your surroundings and note whether you are seeing things differently.
The cool-down should not be just an afterthought. It's a kind of training because, in the cool-down, you have the chance to notice exactly how you "put your stress back on." You can notice which thought you pick up first or which task you do first, and you see how that triggers a stressful reaction in you. In the wonderful in-between state of the cool-down, you have the chance to notice how your mind moves from peacefulness to stress, and you have the opportunity to move it back again.
Get started with the Basic Minute now, plus a warm-up and cool-down of your choice.
Martin Boroson is a playful, practical new voice in the next wave of meditation teachers. Author of One-Moment Meditation: Stillness for People on the Go, he lectures on the benefits of a meditative mind for decision-making and leadership. Marty studied philosophy at Yale, earned an MBA from the Yale School of Management and is a formal student of Zen. Visit his website for One-Moment Meditation® help and resources, or tweet him at @takeamoment.
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