Busyness seems to be the norm for many people now. Busy with work, busy with children, with friends, projects, catching up, keeping up, and keeping ahead. Although this seems to have become a trend, the pace has most definitely quickened with the exponential growth of internet, smart phones and general inter-connectivity. A whole generation of young people has grown up absorbing this technology into daily life. The norms for what is acceptable are changing so quickly it seems we no longer even see the goal posts, let alone when they are changed.
All of this busyness is doing. It takes up time, energy and if we are not careful can simply dominate our lives to an extent never before seen on such a scale. But we forget that doing is only a part of life. Underneath all this doing there is a place of being. In fact this place of being is always present but it can remain beneath the surface of our experience unless we take the opportunity to tune it to it as if it were a frequency we are not familiar with.
Formal meditation, whether we are sitting, lying down, walking are all practices of non-doing.
I say formal meditation because it is these practices that most of us think of when we hear the word ‘meditation’. As I mentioned in the recent post on mindfulness, these formal practices are one aspect of meditation. They are useful and practical precisely because by taking some time to sit or walk in meditation, we are taking the time to stop doing and notice instead what it is like simply to be.
One of the simplest practices of formal meditation is sitting with focused attention on sounds. Find a quiet spot to sit, either on a chair or on a cushion on the floor. Either with your eyes closed or open, spend some time relaxing as you sit. Breath in relax, breathe out relax. If you can hear traffic, or voices around you or even the sounds of nature simply listen to them and keep allowing yourself to relax and enjoy being here. You could also use some relaxing music. Other than sitting here you don’t need to do anything else right now. Stay with this for as long as you can just sitting and listening to the sounds around you. Take the time to simply be for a few moments longer.