Meditation – Part 1

Morning, Earth beings.

Two months ago, I volunteered at Camp LIFT. Their mission statement is:

“To foster optimal development in youth, by educating them on holistic principles of healthy minds, bodies and relationships. To promote fundamental values surrounding global health in order to reduce the incidence of addiction, delinquency, and school dropouts”.

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It was a seven day sleep away camp, for youths aged 14 to 17 years old. I volunteered on the first day and the last day; I picked up some of the teenagers in Montreal on the first day, drove them to the camp, stayed there to sleep the first night, came home on the morrow, returned on the last day to hang out with them, and drove three of them home the day after that.

During the first evening, we all gathered up in a circle so that the youths could hear the schedule for the week. Amongst two hours of daily sports, morning meditation, yoga, and healthy eating, there was also a 6:00 AM wake-up scheduled for every morning, not easy tasks for teenagers who do not live this lifestyle regularly.

I used to get up around 5:30-6:30 quite often in the past, because of school; however, since school finished almost two years ago, I had not been in that groove anymore. I was getting up somewhere between 7:30-10:00, and I missed being up early—I feel my most productive time of the day is between 5:00 and 11:00.

The next morning, I woke up with them at 6:00 AM, meditated, broke my fast, and then drove home. I couldn’t stay for the week because I had work.

I thought about the teenagers a lot when I got home; I had already become attached to many of them, and so I decided I would stay with them in spirit: I recorded a short video, explaining how I would get up at 6:00 every morning of the week, and meditate on my own, to support them in this endeavor.

Every morning that week, without fail, I was up at 6:00—my alarm was actually 6:01, but no one needs to know that, except my awesome readers—to go meditate at the park next to my house.

This expedition was at the beginning of August, and I have kept up with morning meditation ever since, save three days due to feeling frail and sickly. I do not get up at 6:00 every morning though; instead, I put my alarm on seven hours and 30 minutes after I get to bed. Chiefly, it varies between 6:30 and 8:00, which I largely prefer over 9:00 or 10:00, which is the loophole I had fallen into.

Excuse me. The title of this post is ‘How To Meditate’, not ‘Here Is A Personal Anecdote Of Mine’.

Picky, as always.

I am getting to that presently.

I have three different meditation routines, of which I alternate between each morning. For example: I will do meditation 1 on Monday, meditation 2 on Tuesday, meditation 3 on Wednesday, and loop around as of Thursday.

Today I shall explain one of these meditation techniques I use.

The Bubble Meditation

I discovered the bubble meditation while reading Lawrence LeShan’s book How To Meditate.

The goal of the bubble meditation is to be fully focused on your thoughts in the present moment, taking about six to ten seconds to observe each thought.

Here are the steps, described briefly:

  1. Sit down. Imagine that you are seated at the bottom of a lake. If this thought is too difficult for you, imagine you are sitting on a mountain-side, observing the environment ahead—in this case, it will not be a bubble meditation but more of a column of smoke meditation, which I shall explain very shortly.
  2. Close your eyes. Each time a thought comes to you, imagine that a bubble has formed at the bottom of the lake, in front of you, and that the thought you had is encompassed in the bubble. Then, observe the bubble as it rises higher and higher, until it is no longer visible—this should take about six to ten seconds. Do not judge, or try to understand why you are thinking of this; simply observe it. If you are imagining yourself sitting on a mountain-side, imagine a column of smoke rising instead of a bubble, with the same parameters as described previously.
  3. Do the same thing for the next thought, and so forth, always without judgement. Start with 10 minutes for several sessions, and then you can increase if you’d like, or not, it is entirely up to you.

The goal is to observe your thoughts in the present, without judging or trying to understand them.

Sometimes, the same thought will come back several times in a row. That is fine; just observe, and keep going. You might have instances where no thoughts emerge, and if that is the case, that is fine too. There are no set rules, besides observing your thoughts and doing nothing else.

I normally do this for ten to fifteen minutes. I never put a timer on at the park when I meditate, so I am ball-parking the duration. I used to put a ten minute timer on when I mediated at home several months ago, to help me not think about how long remained, and that way I could just focus on the task at hand, and nothing else—although I never managed to have a full ten minute session when my brain didn’t divagate at least several times.

There you have it.

Thank you.

Woah. A thank you. From you?

Don’t get used to it.

Next time I write about meditation I will share another method I use.

Do you meditate presently, or have you in the past? How did or does it make you feel?

Bubble-note: I’m simply observing my thought, over and over, of how I’d love for you to subscribe to my blog. And if not, that is fine; as I mentioned, I am only observing, and not judging.

 

What Is Your Favorite Word?

Yes, yes, I’m one of those people who loves words!

Each day I take a few minutes to read the Word of the Day on the Dictionary website. It is my equivalent to a regular non-word-worm’s—I even allow myself to invent words now—morning coffee; my day seems incomplete without it.

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My caffeine is… words!

Not funny. Please, go on.

I started this daily reading about 2-3 years ago. I remember I was working as a cashier at the liquor store, and I would spend the downtime in between customers reading the previous—weeks and weeks worth—Words of the Day. A few months after having started doing this, the liquor store computer system got revamped and employees were now only allowed to browse the website that was used to search for the products of the store.

I feel like I may have been one of the causes of this provincial-wide software change—I guess I am proud of some sorts if I was, I mean, provoking a provincial-wide change: check off the bucket list!

Moving on to my words.

Here a few of my favorites—that I can recall, because honestly, remembering complex words that I have never heard of before isn’t too easy—from the past years of reading:

1. My favorite is without a doubt apotheosis. It sounds like a godlike term, hence my love for it. I love every thing about it. Every. Single. Thing. Apotheosis is a noun that depicts the “ideal example”. Used in a sentence it looks like this: Apotheosis is the apotheosis of a great word.

Well aren’t you a clever Bee.

2. Another word I love is draconian. Draconian is an adjective that refers to something “unusually severe or cruel”. Here is an example: Deirdre’s draconian methods of ruling leave the citizens in a constant state of panic. I love this word because I find it sounds just as cruel as it’s meaning. Say it a few times out loud with a deep voice and see—first take a quick look around to make sure no one is watching you, for your societal sanity’s sake: Draconian, Draconian, Draconian. Does it not sound mean and dark?

3. The last one I will share with you today is scythe, which I assume will be more known than the latter. I love the flow of letters in the word scythe because I find they flow seamlessly—alright, I will admit, even I find myself a little bit of a word-weirdo here. I also love the pronunciation. I always thought it was pronounced “sahy-the” but it is pronounced “sahyth”. To properly understand the pronunciation go to this link and click on the microphone icon. Scythe is a noun and is the tool that death wields. This tool is more commonly used by mere mortal farmers when cutting grass or grain. In a sentence, it looks like this: Death was confused when he arrived to claim the farmer’s daughter’s life, because she too was wielding a scythe.

Witty example #2. I’m on fire today—and I’m as ninja-esque as cats so I am not getting burned (refer to this post to understand the inside joke).

Congrats Jonathan. Congrats.

What are some words that you love? I’m sure there must be at least a few words that you love because of their meaning, pronunciation, sentimental value, or for some other awesome reason.

Foot-note: wielding a scythe in front of a child is the apotheosis of draconian parenting.

What’s Your Morning Routine?

And so my day begins; I wake up, do my routine, and go on with my life, oblivious to the early morning mechanics. Only recently did I stop to ask myself questions such as:

  • How do others begin their days?
  • Has my morning routine changed over the years?

I’ll answer the latter; your job is the former.

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As a matter of fact, my routine had been the same since—as long as I can remember—high school. However, I changed my routine a few months ago. I’ll get to that in a bit.

I adhered strongly to the belief that I needed a shower to start my day. I was under the impression—as a consequence of self-indoctrination—that without one, I could not rise from the protective slumber of my oh-so-comfy blankets.

Such nescience.

I recently receive the book Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss as a gift from two generous friends—thank you. Briefly, Tools of Titans is a compilation of the habits and routines of successful individuals, and is split into three chapters:

  • Healthy.
  • Wealthy.
  • Wise.

I read the chapter about Tony Robins (p. 210) the night I received the book at 2:00 AM when I got home from one of the aforementioned friends’ house. I was instantly dismayed. It took all of 15 minutes to dismantle my belief system of the mental shackle of the “holy morning shower” I had created.

In the chapter, Tim Ferriss explains how Tony Robins immediately gets out of bed when he wakes up, and start his priming routine. His routine consists of:

  1. 30 to 60 second cold-water plunge (very different from my 15-20 minute warm shower wake-up call).
  2. Quick breathing exercise—or alternatively his “breath walking” exercise.
  3. 9-10 minutes—split into 3 sections of 3 minutes—of cueing and prompting enabling emotions for his day.

I implemented a similar routine 6 hours after reading the chapter. Since then, I no longer need to bathe under the once-believed “shower of awakening”. Now I am walking outside with my jacket and boots on—it is still somewhat winter in Montreal—two minutes after my alarm rings. I walk around the block for about 10 minutes, and have applied my own adapted priming routine.

What is your priming routine? Do you have a must to kickstart your day?

Although my self-indoctrination has been abolished, my love for a hot shower has not dwindled. As I finish writing this post, I am imagining how nice the imminent shower will feel.