At 5am there isn’t a lot of noise on my typically busy city street. But today as I sat in meditation it was my mind that was full and endlessly moving. At first, it was connecting with my breathing. Noticing how the air was moving in and out of my body.
Staying steady. Holding. Being. And then a distraction.
An announcement of the next stop from the bus outside.
I came back to my breathing. Noticing the expansion and contraction of my diaphragm. Another distraction. My dog’s breathing. And a thought. Is she asleep? A new sensation rose up. Heaviness and tingling in my eyelids. I think I am sleepy. Gently, I bring myself back to my breathing.
I notice the inhales and exhales, how the air moves inside my nose. My nose is dry I think. It must be the heat. And then another thought. Is it cold outside? Gently I bring myself back to my breathing. A sensation, this time in my belly. It feels soft and I feel a pang of shame. My stomach is not flat enough. Pretty enough. And a surprise. Instead of another thought there is another sensation. Tightness. In my chest. And a thought which is expected. I am not enough. I am not doing enough. I am not successful enough.
More tightness. And then something changed.
I came back to my breathing and decided to stay with this emotion. I noticed the tightness and shame and stayed with it.
Breathing. Letting this be as they were. No changing. No shifting. No squashing down.
Things dissolve. Tightness lifts.
Just because I feel shame does not mean I will die from it. And if I sit with the feeling it will pass.
More thoughts and feelings came and went. And each time I came back to my breathing.
In 35 minutes the bells chimed indicating that my meditation was over. Normally, I feel a sense of completion. But today, I felt something new. A sense of renewal, that this was the start of something new.
Something present and mindful.
It was a challenging sit. However, I felt more like myself than ever before. Pena Chödrön says that mediation is a way to befriend who we already are.
I beginning to see the glimmer of something. 2015 is my year of living mindfully.