Spiritual practice used to be a very important part of my life. I always had a small altar table set up in my home that held great meaning for me. It had a picture of my teacher and my teacher’s teacher on it, my prayer beads, a rock, and other objects that I felt held power. When I moved, I set it up first in my new home.
In the tradition that I “grew up in” as a young adult, practice generally meant repeating phrases, and chanting or singing. These practices might change after meeting with my teacher, but generally there were a couple that remained and became solid friends. I was either busily engaged in my practices–and feeling proud about it–or not doing them, and feeling guilty.
But lately, I just sit for whatever amount of time I have—maybe twenty minutes, maybe five. Even “meditating” seems too precious a word. I put my butt in a comfortable chair and stay there a while. No counting of breath, no labeling thoughts, no mantra—nothing. Usually a cup of tea or coffee is involved. I may sip it occasionally, or forget about it entirely. If I feel sleepy, I open my eyes. If wide awake, I may close them. There is no effort around thought. It usually occurs, but I don’t pay attention; it generally isn’t interesting anyway. If a train of thought does grab me, when I notice—and without judgment—I simply drop the thought-train and come back to the present. There is no way to do “it” wrong. However it is, is perfect.
I think of this non-activity as belonging to the present rather than being “my” time—the present, being aware, not even of itself, because it isn’t a thing; it just is. Other phrases that describe this are sitting in presence-awareness; resting; coming to ground. I’ve had people tell me that this doing-nothing terrifies them. In that case, I suggest five minutes a day. It’s kind to the body. Give it a try.
© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013