Five Foundations to Your Home Practice
Sitting meditation is one formal practice that helps cultivate mindfulness. It is supported by 1) your intention to practice, 2) your focussed attention, and 3) and your attitude (such as being open, accepting, and curious). However, keep in mind that you can be mindful during any activity at any time. In fact, this is what we are actually working toward! Thich Nhat Hanh teaches us that we can be mindful while walking, hugging, talking, scrubbing pots. You name it! A consistent, formal daily practice can help cultivate a deeper sense of mindfulness that will support us in being mindful during any moment of life.
But getting started, or committing yourself to a practice isn't always easy.
In order to create a home practice, it is helpful to have a few practical elements in place.
Consider these five foundations as you start:
1. Identify a space in your home where you can practice, ideally with minimal interruption. This can be a corner of a room or a place where you have some privacy.
2. Make a date with yourself. Choose a time when you can commit to practicing on most days. This might be a time when others in your home are generally preoccupied.
3. Begin small. Start with any amount of time, but usually, 10-15 minutes to begin is helpful. Set a timer so you aren't watching the clock.
4. Pay attention to your posture. Whether you are on a chair or sitting crossed-legged on a cushion on the floor, sit upright and lifted. Decide if you want to close your eyes or have a soft gaze down to the floor. Feel where your body connects with the floor or the chair and begin to follow your breath in and out of your body with your attention. You may focus on the sensations of the body where you feel the breath most vividly. You will notice your mind wander. Gently bring your attention back to your breath. Do this for your designated time.
5. Show up with goodwill toward yourself. Even when you don't want to. That is the practice. Manage your expectations and know that some practice is better than no practice.