On Rediscovering Stillness

I’ve started up my meditation practice again. I was having more and more trouble with sleeplessness and anxiety at night and it culminated in a few nights in a row of getting just a few hours’ sleep because I stayed awake for so long.

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And so I’ve found myself returning to my long-neglected meditation cushion. I should say, neglected by me, for it has become one of TweedCat’s favorite places to lounge on lazy days. I rise in the morning and make my way downstairs in the dim summer morning’s light, find a seat on the cushion, and start my practice. My legs are stiff, but eventually they find their familiar cross-legged position. Every so often, TweedCat comes over, as if to wonder at me stealing her seat. She has even hunkered down to sit next to me for a while.

I set my timer, or else choose a guided meditation. I love Insight Timer for this. The bells for the timer are the perfect way to go in and out of meditation. But lately, I’ve also been investigating the guided meditations. The meditations can be a nice way to get into meditation when you need a bit more help, or when you want to focus on a particular thing, rather than the Zen-instilled breath focus that is my default.

And the guided meditations have served me well for nights when I have trouble making it to sleep. I find that I can make myself relinquish social media in order to open up a guided meditation. I bid Mr. Tweed good night, and then put in my earbuds to listen while I drift off. The mark of a good meditation is that I never hear the end.

So that is how I’ve found myself returning to the practices of stillness that were such a regular part of my life years ago.

A Quiet Moment and a Nice Cup of Tea

I’ve started meditating again. It’s part of a larger project I’ve taken on to improve my acting, but the most important part it seems is that I’ve started meditating again. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy looking at the world from my cushion. After my first session, just propped up on a pillow on the bed, I opened my eyes and the whole world seemed luminous with possibility. That’s how quieting my mind makes me feel.

I’ve gone through so much of recent months in a bit of a haze, a fog of never really paying attention except at some specific moments. But meditation is bringing me back my awareness. So I made myself a cup of tea when I got to work, as I usually do. I finished off a packet of Four Seasons oolong from Simple Loose Leaf. A lovely little tea, blending floral and milky flavors in the oolong.

I busied myself while the kettle boiled and the leaves steeped. I read the news and checked email. And then I brought the cup to my mouth and was hit with a waft of fragrance from the tea. I had forgotten just how lovely and complex it smelled. And my new mindfulness had me sit for a moment and marvel in the loveliness of the tea. I savored my first sip and just slowed down in a way I haven’t slowed down for a while. Here’s hoping I bring that slowness to the rest of my day and week.