Whether it’s in our shoulders, chests, stomach’s diaphragms or backs, most of us hold our tension in our torso somewhere. This can become so habitual that many people wake up with tension already in place. This is no failure. Tension is inevitable, that’s why we have the capacity to feel it.
Tension can act as a useful signal, but it’s a bad companion. In any meditation practice, it’s important to ensure that our days start off without it. And the best way to do that is to intentionally start our days in more open, conscious ways.
From there we all wobble. Even Ghandi and the Dalai Lama. That’s why starting off the day by being ‘centered’ is so important. And they’re famous for being super centered. 🙂
MORNING MEDITATION FIVE
Today’s meditation is about relaxing the diaphragm. If we start each day loose, then when tension begins to arise during the day it will become more noticeable. And once we know it’s there, we can find it’s source, and then divert our attention onto something more productive, that also feels better.
Strangely, the most difficult aspect of today’s meditation will be many people’s resistance to doing it. Some will think it’s silly, some will claim they have no time. It’s actually a curious thing to avoid, because let’s break it down: the meditation is to laugh really hard.
I’m serious. If we’re doing these meditations then we should take this one just as seriously as the ones about gratitude etc. The effects are just as strong and more immediate.
And seriously: resisting laughing? How easy do we want our psycho-spiritual development to be? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
The thing with humans is, we can’t listen to other people laughing without starting to laugh ourselves. Occasionally, as in the first case below, they happen slowly and spontaneously, which is a part of why they are particularly funny. Unlike the ‘laugh chain’ that is the second example, in this case everyone’s trying not to participate but they ultimately can’t hold it in, why they burst forth even more.
This is as good as a meditation gets. It’s laughter. And it really does have an important effect. So even if it feels dumb, if we really want to increase our ability to control our consciousness, then it’s a great idea for to us to wire a big fat electrical line in our brains that leads straight into relaxed joy.
If we stay conscious while we’re laughing, we’ll feel the moment when the meditation is technically is over. We might still want to linger after that. But if we’re paying attention, there is a distinctive moment where we will feel our bodies ‘letting go.’ That is a feeling that we want to teach our consciousness to know.
I’ll see you all later for tonight’s meditation. Enjoy your days.
(I’d suggest that everyone consider doing this laughter exercise with some video, at least once a week of not every day. It’s not hard to find things to laugh at. 🙂 )
EVENING MEDITATION FIVE
(The evening meditation is posted before 4pm MST each day)
For those that did this morning’s meditation, and for those who stayed conscious afterwards, folks will likely have noticed that they were much more aware of how loose their diaphragms were all day. This is a very valuable awareness to develop.
Each of these evening meditations assumes that we are at least making some effort to try to consciously lower the rate of our thinking and breathing as the evening moves closer and closer to bedtime.
If sleep is an issue, a consistent bedtime can help a great deal. Humans don’t get hungry at noon by nature, we all know that’s true through our own experiences of not being hungry at lunch. Like our ancestors, many tribal people have no ‘time,’ so mealtime was whenever they happened to come across something to eat.
We, on the other hand, thought clocks into existence and then chose noon as lunch time (largely for industrial reasons). We have been conditioned to feel hungry then, just as we can condition ourselves to feel tired at bedtime.
Once we’re slowed down we want to engage with creating an echo from this morning’s meditation. What we want, is to think of times where we recall really laughing in a memorable way. Most people can find a fast 5 or 10 or even 20, but no matter how fast the first ones come, the heart of our meditations occur while we search to recall the others.
What are we doing as we search our minds for other hilarious examples? We move from place to place to place in our brains, but rather than engage with any thoughts relating to the region our minds simply note that it does or does not match the criteria for hilarious and then we move on.
What this means is that our minds are engaged in the action of a search. We are busy, but we are thinking about our lives in an impersonal way. We are simply scrolling memories looking for a quality.
That’s like looking at an online store’s listing of books rather than at the books themselves. It’s far more boring, far more active, and far less focused on anything other than the task itself. Voila. We are engaged in the moment, and in our moments we are searching.
Since we’re searching for laughs, our search should be pleasant, but it should also be tiring. With any luck at all, we may soon find that our search leads us into a very rewarding sleep.
Sweet dreams everyone.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.