You will be far more productive in the ensuing hours if you begin the day by spending five minutes actively engaged in doing nothing at all. – Karen Maezen Miller
Last year at this time, I resolved to do something that seemed radical at the time – nothing. I made a commitment to sit for 15 minutes every day and meditate. Why? We’ve all heard that meditation can change our lives. Sometimes the claims read like an infomercial. It’s supposed to prevent and cure everything from anxiety to heart disease. And MRI scans show that in the long-term, meditation can even change the way the brain functions.
But I was looking for something less dramatic. I felt unfocused and impatient. I was spending too much time multitasking and surfing the Internet. I was restless.
I’m happy to report that during 2010, I sat down nearly every day and did nothing for 15 minutes.
There are lots of ways to meditate. I simply sit, close my eyes, and pay attention to my breath. Thoughts and emotions invariably come and go, and I try to simply take note of them and return my attention to my breath. Sounds simple, right? Sometimes it is. Other times, it’s not.
Has meditation revolutionized my life? It’s hard to say. I feel more focused, relaxed, and at ease at the start of 2011 than 2010. But there’s nothing dramatic about meditating. It is what it is – resting, paying attention, simply being. In other words, it’s not something you can easily measure or quantify – at least without an MRI machine.
That said, it’s a practice I’ll be continuing it into 2011. It gives me a chance to rest, and I find that I take those moments of sitting into my days. When I’m feeling impatient or angry, I’m more apt to recognize those emotions as fleeting and to breathe.
Did you stick with your New Year’s Resolution for 2010? Did you make a resolution for 2011?