Or holed up in the house. We’re all there. Well, hopefully most of us are so we can stop the spread of COVID-19. With all this time on our hands and darkness surrounding us, there’s never been a better time to start a meditation practice.
I did my usual workout yesterday, but it was hard. Mentally. It’s a slippery slope we’re all on right now and the Coronavirus is just one of the worries. Each of us, no matter what our mask may show to the public, walks around with a very fragile psyche behind it. Right now we need to protect not just our bodies from a deadly contagion, but our minds from despair.
Arthritic hips and knees don’t appreciate it, but my exercise routine begins with stretching and yoga. The pigeon pose days are over, but the cat pose and some gentle rocking of the hips loosens things a bit before 30 minutes or so on the elliptical machine. Exercise is critical right now for body and mind. I’m even pushing my son, Kyle to get in a daily spin. The first day he couldn’t make 4 minutes. Sunday he managed 5. Today we’ll add 60 seconds more. He gets pretty bad allergies, so the lungs need expanding. Yours do too. Take a walk. Get some fresh air.
As I lay face down on the Gaiam mat, my mind began to drift toward blackness. We all are well aware of the monochrome thoughts invading our minds right now, so it’s pointless to share mine. Here’s the thing. I quickly caught myself and shifted focus to my breath, just like meditation practice teaches. I stayed on the breath. The darkness dissipated, and I carried on. I’ll be relying on that learned skill for the next few… Well, however long it takes.
Years ago, before I meditated, I’d fall helplessly down in the hole. My resulting demeanor would adversely affect everyone around me. Now, just like in a movie, I’m able to reach out and grab an elusive vine to catch me from falling. (Note, it doesn’t have to be a vine. It could be like when Luke Skywalker falls down the hole in The Empire Strikes Back, but saves himself by grabbing what looks like an antenna…) You get the idea.
Just breathe. Close your eyes. Focus on your breath. Stay focused. Dark thought? Fuck that. Go back to your breath. What’s going to happen with this virus? Get the fuck out of here. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. OK. Now I feel better and need to get some work done.
More on meditation with links to great resources that got me started: