Meditation is not a practice done solely with the mind. It includes the body. In fact our body is a very important resource for our meditation practice and can assist us greatly in cultivating mindfulness and ease.
The very first thing we do before beginning to meditate is to take a good seat or choose our posture, which shows us how important it is to be grounded in the body. Do this now, choose a comfortable position that you can relax into for the next few minutes. Arrange your body so that you can release surface tension and allow yourself to settle into stillness.
Feel all the places where your body is in contact with support- the floor beneath you, the chair you are sitting on, any cushions beneath your hips, or head or legs- and relax the weight of your body into that support.
Now begin to gently move your awareness through your body, and notice any areas where you tend to grip tight. To hold onto tension or effort even when it’s not necessary.
Consciously relax the large muscles in your legs, and soften your belly. Relax the space around your heart and soften your shoulders. Relax all the little muscles in your face, and soften your jaw.
As your body begins to relax, notice if there is anywhere in your body where your attention likes to rest. This might be your belly or your heart, the space between your eyebrows or the feeling of your feet on the earth. Resting your attention in your body can help you to create a sense of dropping out of your mind and into your body. Don’t try to stop your mind from thinking. Don’t try quiet your mind intentionally. But see if you can rest your awareness in an area of your body that is relaxed and at ease, and observe the way this affects the quality of your attention.
Whenever you find yourself becoming distracted by a busy thought, a strong emotion, or a restless sensation- quietly and gently bring your awareness back to that place of ease and relaxation in your body. Let your body support you in coming back to the present moment, again and again.
Stay here as long as you like, quietly re-entering your day when you are ready. Know that you can come back to this experience of ease and relaxation whenever you have need.