When you come to the end of a long day of work and your shoes are pinching your feet, your waistband feels uncomfortably tight, and you are yearning for something less restrictive—something that signals it’s the end of the busy day—you may loosen your tie or slip off your shoes so you can relax. In the same way, you can prepare yourself to meditate.
Meditation often used to seem like something I should do. I’d mentally add it to my “to-do” list and then beat myself up when I didn’t find the time. But, sitting down and doing nothing, not only sounded daunting and overwhelming but also like a weary waste of time. The upshot was I got turned off by the idea of meditation before I had the chance to get turned on.
It took me a while to realise that when I was feeling restless, unsettled, or stuck in an active mind, what I needed to do was expend less effort, not more.
I approach meditation differently these days. An attitude shift makes all the difference. Meditation, I’ve come to recognise, is not an activity to master, but a deep sigh in the arms of my lover-self.
Now, I take a few moments to transition. I make sure my physical environment is warm and inviting. I often lie down for a couple of minutes, idly watching out a window or maybe listening to some soft music. I relax.
As I physically prepare myself to enter a different state of being—a more comfortable state of being– I begin to breathe a little deeper and more easily as if I have just removed uncomfortable clothing. I naturally let go of the “pinching shoe” thoughts and the “to-do list” jacket. I more willingly adorn a light, attractive “barely there” mind robe, acknowledging my readiness to be naked with my lover-self: open, vulnerable, inviting, and present. This readiness is like one finger gently tracing the outline of my inner lover self’s face . . .
I allow a playful inner smile to emerge, as if I had just turned to my inner lover-self and said, “do you mind if I slip into something more comfortable?”
Even two minutes of resting my body in such an environment—of doing nothing—changes my perspective and signals that I am ready to peel off the day’s thought streams—willing to be attentive to something else altogether. That something is what I like to think of as being naked in the now.
We meditate because in the deepest longing of our heart, we want to be stripped of everything that is not Love.
Marijke McCandless is an award-winning author, playfulness instigator, and long-time awareness practitioner. https://marijkemccandless.com/