Meditation: Calm, How to Meditate: The Do Nothing Project Length: 10 minutes Where: Office/Guest Room, Michigan How It Felt: Like a release I needed more than I knew
This short meditation was one of the most powerful ones I’ve done, even though it was one of the most simple.
This session, again guided by Jeff Warren, compared the two “schools of thought” on meditating. On one side, we have the “try to get this right” mindset- basically what we’ve been doing in the “How to Meditate” series. Learning all the terms and techniques, the how-to’s and philosophies, etc.
On the other side, many people use meditation as a time to just be rather than do– a time to sit and chill out and let their minds stop trying to control anything. Practicing sitting in the moment and just being okay with that. Finding peace in the not trying.
We started with the first way, focused on our home base, actively working on keeping thoughts in the background and committing to keeping our attention on the breath (or whatever we chose as our home base- I always like to use the breath.)
Then we switched to the second way, the “do nothing” approach. We were instructed to not try to control our experience in any way. I definitely noticed that when I stopped and just let whatever was happening happen, I relaxed significantly. I clocked that, thinking that certainly applies to life in general. Thinking I should remember this in all areas.
So there I was, perfectly fine, meditating away, when Jeff said something that caused me to burst into tears. Tears that built into a gentle cluster of sobs, which rolled suddenly into laughter, then tears again. This went on until the end of the session.
He said, “You’re allowed to put down your labor, your endless vigilance. It’s okay.”
Oh, man. I needed to hear that. I needed to hear that if I stopped taking care of everything and everyone, it would be okay. That I didn’t need to have my antennae raised at all times. That I could STOP, just stop. Stop paying attention. Stop noticing it all.
We are allowed to put it down.
Is that powerful or what?
When I think about it, I never put it down. Even when I have full “off” days, Introvert Days, shut down days, I am using the time to process everything. To defrag. To organize and analyze all the information that’s come in lately. I’m gearing up to go back to constant vigilance. I’ve never heard anyone say I’m allowed to just stop for awhile.
Not like this.
In a time when I’m hoping to learn how to love so many of my people without mothering them, without taking responsibility for their happiness, their sadness, their safety, their peace, this was exactly the permission I needed. I’m blown away.
“Do nothing” meditation is something I need to include more often in my practice. I need to repeat it until I can do it without making it a monumental thing. I favorited this particular session, but I will also incorporate more unguided meditations. I will use them to remind myself that my particular burden is not being responsible for the entire world all the time.
As if this wasn’t already powerful enough, Jeff dropped another piece of wisdom at the end that shot through me like a lightning bolt:
“When we stop trying to control what happens, we make space for what already wants to happen.”
I believe that getting into your flow accomplishes more than fighting upstream, but I don’t really live it most of the time. I try to work harder, prove I’m worthy, push more, force results. I know I do. I know, when I get quiet and pay attention, what I’m meant to be doing with my life, but I get in my head and try to direct it all from behind the curtain.
I have got to let go.
I started Yoga with Adriene’s May yoga calendar today, and the first video was called “Trust.” Trusting yourself, the universe, the people around you. YES. Could the message I’m getting be any clearer?
I’m going to relax like a wet noodle and see what happens. I am giving myself permission to turn off my Iron Man goggles and simply see what’s right in front of me, to stop analyzing it all so hard for awhile. I’m going to trust Jeff and Adriene and the universe and MYSELF.
Going back to LA tomorrow with plans to start truly, step by step, easing back into life. No, not back– easing into my new life. The life for which I’ve been building the foundation during this pandemic. The life where I let the anchors and distractions and bullshit and guilt and obligations all fall away so I can focus on what matters most.
The life I’ve been determined to live since I was old enough to start dreaming.
“You’re allowed to put down your labor, your endless vigilance. It’s okay.”
Damn. Yes. I hear you. I’m shifting. I’m getting it now.