When it comes to meditation, I always start with my breath. Breathing low into my abdomen anchors me in the present moment. When I teach, I ask my students to notice their breaths. Do you watch it passively as an observer? Or do you engage it actively, directing it through a certain method?
If you lay on the floor, bend your knees and rest your feet hip-width apart. Or, when you're in bed at the beginni
ng or end of your day, start with that action of tuning into your breath.
After a couple of minutes, especially if your mind is restless, you can draw your knees up to your chest and hug them in. You can rock side to side, slowly, or in a pulsing tempo. You can also rock forward and back. As you move slowly, stay with the breath and let any thoughts pass.
As you feel centered, perhaps you will be able to adjust your focus to your heart area. It is from the heart that gratitude flows. So once you're settled, you can simply begin to count blessings. For some, it goes without saying that they are grateful for their homes. But starting with your shelter, the roof, and the walls and the floors, we give thanks. And sending gratitude to those under the same roof is next- whether it is family, friend(s), or animal(s), sending love. And love to the water, running water, the miracle of hot water. And love to the heat, fire, the hearth, access to gas, the ability to cook, in your home, under your roof.
If you start off with these most basic of things, recognizing the every day things as being of great value and dearly cherished, you will soon find your heart eager to send more love and gratitude out. Soon, your heart might even hold enough softness to send love to those relationships and hardships that challenge you. It may not be easy to honor what brings us pain but if we love it for the learning and growth, maybe the embrace can help us to transmute energy! For some, the act of giving thanks can be accompanied by imagery. You might simply sense colors, or feelings. As much as possible, breathe with the flow of thankfulness and love. Let it go from you to all areas of your life. Inhale... exhale...
When you feel that you're full from loving, remember to claim some of that loving gratitude for yourself. Like sending love to our homes, we give thanks for our bodies- our arms that hugs, our spines that allow us to stand tall, our eyes that see, our tongues that taste, our internal organs that do thankless work day in and day out. See if you can wash yourself in a color or texture of loving energy and let every cell of your body be permeated with thanks, love, and peace.
Taking this time to practice giving thanks is a blessing by itself. I encourage you to claim the time, whether five minutes or an hour. Meditation is food for the heart and soul. We hope that you can enjoy time to rest well and cherish all that you have in life. And remember too, if you have a little more than enough, there may be someone who is out there just hoping that some miracle comes their way! Who knows... YOU may be a conduit for a miracle. And grateful hearts often serve well!