As I mentioned last week, being still is a highly underrated - and underutilized - tool. Not only do we rarely find (or make) time to remain in one place without an agenda or task, when we do allow ourselves an unplanned moment, our minds spiral with thoughts of what we "should" be doing instead, what we just said or did, or what we will do next.
To help you overcome the challenge of stillness, I offer a simple meditation technique you can roll out any time, any place. It can be practiced while sitting with your eyes closed, while standing on a crowded bus, or walking down the street. It requires no formal training and no particular talent. In fact, it is a great entry point for those who don't (think they) have the patience or ability to meditate.
The technique is simple. Begin by noticing your breath. Become aware of your inhale and exhale. As you draw your breath in, think or say to yourself, "one." As you exhale, think or say to your self, "two." On your next inhale, proceed with "three," and on your next exhale, proceed with "four." Continue this pattern until you reach 10.
It seems simple, and it is. But it is highly likely that sometime before you reach 10, a cloud of thought will drift across your mind. This is not a problem. You have not failed. When a thought arises, acknowledge it, set it aside, and return to the beginning, starting with "one." The goal is not to reach 10 - or even five. The goal is to practice being present and quieting the mind. And when you reach 10, or your bus arrives, or you reach your destination, you will have done just that.
Next time you find yourself struggling to quiet your body and mind, give it a try and see what happens...