Today’s Reverb10 question comes from Patrick Reynolds: “This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?”
My answer is one word: Meditation
Trust me, I’m no yogi. Actually, I haven’t ever been able to meditate. I even took a six week course on how to meditate and STILL couldn’t do it! That all changed recently when I read The Art of Power by Thich Nhat Hanh. Nhat Hanh teaches us that meditation doesn’t have to consist of sitting cross-legged and touching our fingertips like we see in the movies. It doesn’t have to be laying down or sitting in a chair with our back straight and our feet firmly planted on the ground (like I was taught in that six week course).
Meditation can happen when you’re eating breakfast, walking into your office building from your car, or reading this blog post. You can even meditate while driving, because meditation isn’t about clearing your mind and thinking about nothing. Rather, it’s about clearing your mind and focusing on one single thing. That one single thing can be your breath (works best), or it could just be focusing on feeling your feet on the ground while you walk. Meditation happens when you put 100% of your attention on one single thing. It’s about clearing your mind of thoughts about the past and worries about the future, and just focusing on the present moment.
I never understood that whole “just be in the present moment” talk until I read this book. It all became clear to me after that. I try to practice at least once a day. It could be while I’m eating breakfast. I’ll just sit and eat, without any distractions. No television or radio in the background, no computer screen on in front of me, just my food and I sharing a moment. I focus on chewing the food and REALLY tasting it. I didn’t realize how quickly I eat and how rarely I actually taste the food that I’m eating until I started practicing this! I then focus on the food entering my body and nourishing it. This is a great method if you’re trying to eat healthier because if you’re eating crap, you’re going to feel disgusted with yourself in that moment. It’s a great practice though because we really are what we eat. I may eat for a total of 10 minutes, but after I’m done it feels as if I just did a 30 minute meditation.
Time has slowed down since I started practicing these things throughout the day. It has also helped me become much more present with the people in my life. If I sit down for lunch with someone, I really sit there with them and focus on the conversation, rather than place my attention on other conversations happening around me or get distracted by people passing by. These people are important to my life, so I should make them feel important right?!
So what about you? When have you felt your mind and body as one? Please leave your answer in the comments below.