Monday evening was sooo cold, -4 degrees when I set out, but it’s always nice and cosy in the upstairs studio in The Salisbury Centre, so we had a good turnout of folks who braved the frost.
After settling in, the first longer meditation practice was 20 – 25 minutes and I was so impressed, everyone was so still and quiet, perhaps because we had been told it was ok to move if we needed to. Sometimes the ‘forbidden’ is what we most want to do. We had some discussion of experiences during the meditation and some good questions came up.
Q: What to do if you’re falling asleep? A: Raise the gaze upwards (remember we’re learning to meditate with eyes open). And conversely, when you feel very agitated, lower the gaze.
Q: Why should the knees be on the ground? A: It creates a stable base for the body to be well balanced. If your knees are off the ground, try an extra cushion.
NB We will focus on the details of posture next week, in Week 3, and we’ll give individual advice as needed.
We also had some chat about practice during the week, and how difficult it is to get a regular practice going, even 5 or 10 minutes a day. The best advice is ‘just do it’ – don’t wait until everything is perfect, the setting, the time, your mood. Start to create a habit, but slowly, taking baby steps at first. You can just sit quietly in your chosen spot (or sitting up in bed) for 3 – 5 minutes each morning and don’t worry about whether you’re meditating or not, that will come later. We also talked about being able to bring mindfulness to any daily activity, to be more aware when brushing your teeth, for example, or washing the dishes.
Tea, biscuits and more practice followed and we all went home with renewed enthusiasm to make a few minutes available every day for practice.