Meditation is often the last thing I get to in my practice and as such it often gets left off, so on Mondays I put meditation on the top of my practice list.
I have a few different meditation practices that I do. One is to simply sit still for an hour, no moving. If you have tried this yourself you know it's not as easy as it sounds. As soon as the timer starts, I get an itch on my nose or I remember the laundry needs put in the dryer or that I need to send a text. I'll confess that I rarely get through the full hour in one sitting, but that's ok. I allow myself to accumulate time in smaller chunks when needed, 10 minutes at a time or so. There are things about not moving that are advantageous to a meditation practice. One is that it puts space between desire and action. "My nose itches...I want to scratch it....no, I'm not moving...ok....sit with it....feel the itch…don’t react to it, just experience it…breath into it" Often, it goes away.
This space between desrie and action can be useful in our lives. Think of the times you may be upset and feel like sending an angry text. Give the feeling some space. Allow yourself to experience it. Don't repress it. Don't act on it. Simply feel it. Sometimes it softens. When I can manage to let myself have this space, I never send those texts and am always glad I didn't.
Another example I like to use is with hunger. A natural desire for sure, but our conditioning gets in the way. Hunger arises and if we act habitually we can end up making choices that aren't so good. (I head for donuts.) Putting a little space between the desire to eat and the action can give us the opportunity to make better choices. Pause, experience the hunger, get in touch with what the body really wants, then act. Here's another way of putting it: act rather than react.
Sometimes I soften the practice and allow some movement to occur, but I'm deliberate about it. For instance I may make small subtle motions rocking my pelvis back and forth. It feels good in the spine and helps me find a good seat. And it's not like anyone is watching or keeping score. If you need to move, then move, but do so consciously and deliberately, with intention. "I'm going to scracth my nose now. I'm moving my right hand up to my face..." Think of minimizing movent.
Give sitting still a try and see how nicely it affects the rest of your day. Choose a nice quiet place with no distractions and find a way to sit as comfortably as you can. Sitting on a bench or low table can be really comfortable. Settle into stillness and set your intention not to move. Try to find the stillness from deep within your body and let it radiate outward rather than imposing it from the outside. Meditation can be challenging. It doesn't always feel good when you're doing it (though sometimes it does), awareness of the benefits can show up after practice, later in the day. Pay attention to what comes up. Don’t react, just let it be. 5 minutes a good place to start. If it feels good, you can always do another 5!
(This photo was taken at Old Woman Creek, on one of those rare spring days when it was possible to sit outside in the warm sun AND not get bothered by bugs! So nice.)