This post originally appeared in this week’s Destiny Architecture Blueprint (newsletter) at DestinyArchitecture.net.
Once Upon A Meditation...
I have two bengal cats who I love dearly. They do, however, tend to be my teachers in many ways. Usually, it's Titali who LOVES meditation—but not this weekend. It was Usul who decided he'd be MY meditation teacher AND join me for once IN meditation.
I can't tell you how many times I've meditated to find that, by the end, Titali has somehow found her way to me, or close to me. She loves the sound of the singing bowl. They BOTH come running for yoga nidra!
But Usul on his own has never been into practices that induce CALM. He wants to run around in circles, howling with a ball in his mouth. If he's awake, he brings me his ball to throw.
Yesterday, it was raining and I decided that it was an opportunity to sit down and meditate to the sounds of natural rain. (I like to meditate to recorded rain sounds, so I saw this as a treat). I rolled out my yoga mat and sat on my meditation cushion. Then I noticed Usul circling me (no ball this time).
So I spread a blanket across my legs and invited him to come chill. Let me reiterate: Usul has zero chill. But this time, he decided to take me up on my offer and quickly laid his little butt down on the blanket, pensively at first.
After a few minutes, he settled. I settled.
Did he settle because I did? Did I settle because he did? Or do all beings need a couple of minutes in order to settle down into the peaceful place of meditation? I suspect all of the above are true and correct.
Here's the lesson: give yourself time to settle at the start of your meditation practice.
I've taken to talking for a couple of minutes at the beginning of the guided meditations now in order to give you the time you need to find a comfortable seat, block out distractions, and settle.
Those first few minutes of meditation can be challenging. The fight against the mind's fluctuations is beginning. The to-do list items pop in. The racing thoughts. The intrustive thoughts. And the classic favorites also come sneaking in, like, "Did I turn off the oven?" Or, "What is that weird noise?"
Just work with these thoughts. Allow them to pass. If Usul can settle, so can I. So can you.