How to Slow Down and Meditate

I received an email recently from a blog reader who said he was having trouble slowing down enough to meditate. That the time he spent meditating was no fun because it went so slowly.

That’s a common problem for beginning meditators, especially those practicing breath counting or mentally repeating a mantra or phrase.

I have a suggestion for this…

Simply do your best to not let it be a problem. Just devote twenty to thirty minutes each day to sitting and do it, no matter how long it feels like it takes. If your experience parallels mine, a happy day will arrive when your sitting sessions go so quickly you won’t believe that 20 to 30 to even 60 minutes passed like a snap of your fingers. 🙂

Important point: when you meditate (and during your non-meditating time, too), just be.

Breathe in; pause for a few seconds and note the stillness; breathe out; pause for a few seconds and note the stillness. That’s it. Everything you need is right here, right now.

Especially in that deep silent pause between each breath.

Until next time, meditate every day and let it all go.

Breathe in Absolute Freedom

For this week’s meditation, we turn to Dogen (founder of the Soto school of Zen Buddhism), who wrote:

The human mind has absolute freedom as its true nature. There are thousands upon thousands of students who have practiced meditation and obtained this realization. Do not doubt the possibilities because of the simplicity of this method.

During the coming week, while you’re meditating, breathe in absolute freedom and breathe out true nature.

Do not think or conceptualize about absolute freedom and true nature while you’re sitting and breathing.

Simply breathe in absolute freedom and breathe out true nature.

Wet Socks Remedy for Colds and Flu

The Wet Socks Remedy is an interesting and useful treatment for all sorts of infections and inflammations in the upper body. It is simple to do and you don’t need anything but some socks and some water.

The wet sock treatment is best if repeated for three nights in a row if you’re suffering from any of the following symptoms: sore throat or any inflammation or infection of the throat, neck pain, ear infections, headaches, migraines, nasal congestion, upper respiratory infections, coughs, bronchitis, and sinus infections.

To do the wet sock treatment, you’ll need:

1 pair white cotton socks
1 pair thick wool sock
A towel
Warm bath or warm foot bath

With the above items in hand, here are the directions:

Take a pair of cotton socks and soak them completely with ice cold water. Be sure to wring the socks out thoroughly so they do not drip

Warm your feet first. This is very important as the treatment will not be as effective and could be harmful if your feet are not warmed first. Warming can be accomplished by soaking your feet in warm water for at least 5-10 minutes or taking a warm bath for 5-10 minutes.

Dry off feet and body with a dry towel.

Place ice cold wet socks on feet. Cover with thick wool socks. Go directly to bed. Avoid getting chilled.

Keep the socks on overnight. You will find that the wet cotton socks will be dry in the morning.

This treatment acts to reflexively increase the circulation and decrease congestion in the upper respiratory passages, head, and throat.

It has a sedating action and many patients report that they sleep much better during the treatment.

This treatment is also effective for pain relief and increases the healing response during acute infections.

The Cold and Wet Sock Remedy is said to be an excellent treatment for early onset of a cold or flu.

The Still Voice Within Meditation

For this week’s meditation, we turn to Soen Shaku.

At the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893, Soen Shaku turned heads when he made the first public presentation of Zen to the West.

Here’s an observation from him that I like…

Religion is not to go to God by forsaking the world but to find Him in it. Our faith is to believe in our essential oneness with Him. “God is in us and we in Him” must be made the most fundamental faith of all religions

During the coming week, seek God (or Source or Presence or whatever fits your point of view) in the world and in yourself.

Quiet your mind down enough while meditating, and you’ll open yourself to the small still voice within.

Jalal ad-Din Rumi also has good advice for this week’s meditation:

No more words. Hear only the voice within.

During the coming week, while you’re meditating, focus on your breath intently enough and open yourself to the voice within.

Drop in the Ocean Meditation

For today’s meditation, let’s turn to Kabir, an Indian weaver and mystic poet born 1398 AD, who writes…

All know that the drop merges into the ocean, but few know that the ocean merges into the drop.

Close your eyes.

Take a deep breath. Hold for a few seconds. Exhale slowly. Repeat until you’ve slowed down, decreased your thinking, and deepened your awareness.

Visual a single drop of water.

Watch the drop fall into the ocean.

Feel the ocean merge into the drop.

You are the drop.

You are the ocean.

Breathe and be at peace.

Keep It Simple Meditation

This week we learn a helpful technique from Chogyam Trungpa on how to meditate while doing things that would seem trivial…

If you pour a cup of tea, you are aware of extending your arm and touching your hand to the teapot, lifting it and pouring the water.

Finally the water touches your teacup and fills it, and you stop pouring and put the teapot down precisely, as in the Japanese tea ceremony. You become aware that each precise movement has dignity.

We have long forgotten that activities can be simple and precise. Every act of our lives can contain simplicity and precision and thus can have tremendous beauty and dignity.

During the next week, as often as possible, slow down and become mindful and conscious of what you’re doing, no matter how trivial. You’ll be stunned at the meaning and beauty to be found in an act as simple as sharpening a pencil.

Until next Monday, meditate every day and let it all go.

How to Stay Focused with the “Five More” Technique

Today I’d like to tell you how to stay focused with The “Five More” Technique.

I learned this simple yet very powerful tip from self-help guru Sam Horn. Here it is in a nutshell:

The next time you’re about to get off task,
say mentally or aloud to yourself, “Just Five More.”

What does this mean?

Ah, come on. It’s simple.

Continue to work for five more minutes on whatever you’re working on.

Jog for five more minutes if you’re getting your daily exercise.

Write five more sentences if you’re bogged down composing a blog entry.

It’s that simple, and this technique works because it builds persistence.

So every time you’re about to get unfocused or about to give up on something, just Do Five More, okay?

Don’t Have Time to Meditate?

For today’s meditation, let’s approach things a little differently by examining a comment by Jack London, author of “Call of the Wild, “Sea Wolf,” and many other fine novels and short stories. London correctly observes…

You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.

We’re looking at this rather aggressive comment today because there are so many people who don’t spend a few minutes focusing on their breathing at least once every day because they feel they don’t have time to meditate.

Well, make time, by golly.

As Jack London so correctly observes, you have to go after what you want in life. He says to do it with a club, which is a bit much for me, but I agree that to get what you want in life (even if your goal is to eventually want nothing at all), you have to act.

You won’t get what you want (or what you don’t want) by complaining that you don’t have time.

So get up twenty minutes earlier, go to bed twenty minutes later, or turn off the darn boob tube for twenty minutes every evening and make meditation a daily part of your life!

Do it.

Do it today!

Seriously, you can make time for meditation, no matter how busy your schedule. Just be creative and carve out 20 to 30 minutes each day to get in touch with yourself.

After a month of daily meditation, I guarantee you’ll join me in considering your meditation minutes the best and most productive time you spend each day.

That’s it. No more harping or yelling from me on this topic for at least six months.

Two Wake Up Tips

This week I’m sharing two easy but very useful tips you can use to shake off the sleepy blues and pop out of bed happy and alert.

I don’t know if you realized this or not, but the human mind can get so used to certain sounds that you’ll no longer even be aware of them.

With that fact in hand, you can now see why it’s so easy to sleep through or even ignore the familiar ring of an alarm clock you’ve had for years.

So, for the first tip for waking up refreshed, buy at least two more alarm clocks and then switch between them every week.

Even better, purchase one of the new digital alarm units that feature sounds from nature, as well as music.

Sounds that differ from what you hear every day are going to wake you up much better than hearing the same awful buzz most mornings of your life!

The second tip you’re probably familiar with, though you also probably never do it.

Try this tip because it works…

After you drag yourself out of that warm bed, jump start your body by moving it.

That’s right… move.

You don’t have to drop to the floor for twenty push-ups, either.

Instead, stand by your bed and start swinging your arms up and down and then in circular motions.

Wiggle your torso.

Lift those legs up and down a few times.

You’ll be stunned at how well this technique works, even when you think you’re exhausted from not getting enough sleep the night before.

And those, Dear Reader, are the two “wake up refreshed tips” I have for you today.

A Lao-Tzu Meditation

For today’s meditation, we turn east to Lao-Tzu, who tells us…

A tree that is unbending is easily broken.

Most of us during these crazed Covid days are easily injured or even broken because we don’t bend the way we should.

For this week’s meditation, breathe in, hold for a few seconds, relax and breathe out and let go. Repeat several times until you feel your awareness shift into a more peaceful space.

Now, breathe in a tree whose branches are covered with ice. The limbs are bent so dramatically, it’s hard to believe the very tree itself doesn’t topple over to the earth.

But, instead, the limbs bend, they bend gracefully and painlessly and carry the weight of the ice until it melts in the afternoon sun.

The tree, unburdened of its limbs encrusted with heavy ice, once again stands tall and at peace.

Unharmed.

Bent, unbent, never broken.

It’s that easy.

Just breathe in the bending, hold, relax and let go.

Ahhh, peace!