In these trying times, self-care is essential.
As I was writing the book summary for The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh, an all time favorite, I was inspired to share my experience with mindfulness and meditation. In these extremely challenging times, it is even more important to be able to find your place of stillness. Your place of total rest. Thich Nhat Hanh shares that each of us needs total rest and most of us do not get enough. In his words, “Even a night of sleep doesn’t provide total rest. Twisting and turning, the facial muscles tense, all the while dreaming – hardly rest.” Mindfulness and meditation are gifts for yourself. It goes beyond relaxation and is the path to your center of joy, peace, and a clear mind.
Reading The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh is like receiving letters from a wise friend about how to introduce mindfulness into your busy, stressful life. The book evolved from letters that Nhat Hanh wrote to Brother Quang to encourage workers during a dark time in Vietnam. Read our summary here.
My meditation practice gives me comfort and joy, and opens my heart to opportunities.
While I am not an expert, my meditation practice gives me comfort and joy, and opens my heart to opportunities. I started exploring meditation over 20 years ago when a friend of mine introduced me to Deepak Chopra’s books. By nature, I like to understand both the approach and the science behind it. Deepak does a great job of bringing years of meditation learning and science to the layperson. It has been a slow journey for me to get some routine to my practice. Today, I meditate most mornings for about 30 minutes. During my meditation, I take time to remember my aspirations for the future and to focus on what I am grateful for right now. Then, I get ready for the day with a deep sense of joy. Throughout the day, I try to take time to be present. I use simple exercises to bring me back to the now. For example, in the afternoon, I take a cappuccino break. When drinking the cappuccino, I focus on the smell, the taste, and the warmth — and enjoy. It may sound crazy, but it gets me out of my head and back to the here and now.
When I get way out of balance, I take a day of mindfulness. I choose a weekend day when I can make sure I have no other commitments. It is almost like an at-home spa day. I start with my morning meditation, then my cup of tea, followed by a warm bath. With each activity, I am focused on just being in the moment. Experts recommend that you try to maintain a spirit of silence all day. I am only partially able to keep silent, but I keep talking to a minimum throughout the day. At lunch, I have a small, healthy lunch that I prepare for myself. I spend the rest of the day looking out the window, reading, or taking a walk. Then a light dinner and off to bed. This quiet, peaceful day gives me strength and joy. While I only take a few mindfulness days a year, each time I gain a sense of renewal.
One thing for sure, mindfulness and meditation make my life more joyful.
By nature, I am not a structured person, so my practice has its ups and downs. One thing for sure, mindfulness and meditation make my life more joyful.
In these trying times, self-care is essential and if you have not tried meditation, why not give it a try? I started in my early days with the guided meditations by Deepak Chopra. You can find them on the Chopra app.
My sincerest hope is that this glimpse into my mindfulness experience and sources are helpful. I would love to hear about your meditation practice.