Developing a Daily Meditation Practice: Practice Tips
Practice Tip #7 – Practice gentleness
When I first started practicing, I found myself to be tired and drained after meditating. The people around me spoke of how relaxing and calming they felt after meditating, but this was not my experience at all. I realized that when thoughts came up during my meditation, I would force myself to ignore it or try and suppress it because I thought the perfect meditation session meant not having any thoughts come up at all.
I found out much later that by actively trying to ignore or suppress my thoughts, I was using up all my energy battling my own mind, no wonder I was tired! Phrases like “let go of your thoughts” or “focus on your breath” does not mean that we are not suppose to have any thoughts while meditating. It is important to remember that thoughts may come up during our meditation, and that’s okay. We can allow for them to be there without engaging in its content; we can see that it is there, and then gently bring our attention back to the focus of our practice.
Being hard on ourselves does not help us progress, instead, I find when I bring curiosity into practice, I discover much more about myself. When I started practicing gentleness, I began with bringing gentle actions into my daily life, such as placing a cup on the table with gentleness instead of just plopping it down, or when opening and closing the door I would bring gentle movement as opposed to slamming it.
As I started doing this practice, I noticed how rough I was in my daily actions, in so many ways and I had not noticed before. I started to hold and place items as if they were the most precious delicate things in the world; this visualization really helped me bring gentleness when dealing with everyday objects. As I practiced gentleness in action, I also started practicing treating my body and mind in a similar manner.
When I felt angry, frustrated, or annoyed, instead of being sarcastic, or beating myself up about it, I would acknowledge those thoughts and visualize me holding myself with tenderness as if I was holding a crying child. I allowed that child to cry as much as she needed to, and I’m just there for her, holding her with gentleness and support. So this week’s practice tip is practicing gentleness; explore bringing gentleness to your everyday actions as well as in your formal sits.
Wishing you the best of luck with this practice and sending you love,