The Simplicity of Meditation
(Don’t Think About the) Pink Elephant by Beth Ann Fennelly
‘Sometimes at the end of yoga I’m finally relaxing into that calm where I’ve forgotten my to-do list. That’s when the instructor says, “Don’t think about your to-do list.” Suddenly it’s back, and it’s longer, because now it includes forgetting my to-do list. ‘
FIVE STEPS TO SIMPLICITY
1. Make Space
It may seem obvious but it really helps to create a regular time and space. Choose a time of day that’s easiest for you. Be confortable. And know that investing just five or ten minutes can be make all the difference.
2. Be Gentle
There’s no need to focus on getting it right or having a special experience. There is evidence that doing nothing for a few minutes can be as effective as meditating. So let yourself off the hook. This time is for you.
Be curious about opening to whatever is present. It may be dull or it may be joyful. But even if it is uncomfortable or sad give it the space to breathe. Acknowledge whatever comes. Even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time, everything is precious. And each moment will be different.
4. Create a Ritual
A ritual can be as simple as sitting in a particular chair at a given time. An artist I know arranges a few objects on his bed every day. I like to light a candle and chose some stones. Ritual honours the unspoken and anchors your practice.
5. Trust Yourself
If it doesn’t work for you try something else. I used to find Buddhist meditation uncomfortable but Tai Chi quietened my mind wonderfully. Some people like to be guided. These days I sit in silence. There are many ways. Trust whatever feels right for you.
FIVE SIMPLE INSPIRATIONS
Instead of transcending ourselves we must move into ourselves.
In love with the new sun
The cherry blossom forgets
The night’s frost
Stop for a moment and you’ll realize you’re happy just being. I think it’s the pursuit that screws up happiness. If we drop the pursuit, it’s right here.
We make the path by walking.
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honourably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.