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Meditation

In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.

Here’s the thing about meditating. With enough practice you can call it in times of anxiety, confusion or overwhelm. It’s that simple. You will immediately find yourself more at peace and give a more balanced amount of energy to that which has you in a knot.

You sit on a pillow, on folded knees or on a chair as upright as you can. I get within a couple of feet of a wall as I meditate with my eyes open and this helps for focus. Breath in through your nose to your abdomen. Breath out through your mouth. Count 10 breaths, start again, then again. That’s one set. Do that three times.

Your mind will wander and you’ll zoom in on a topic and you will obsess on it and lose your count. Start again. The only thing to concentrate on is breathing in and breathing out and your upright posture.

When you find yourself obsessing on a thought. Acknowledge it and let it go. A good metaphor is a that you spot a cloud, acknowledge it, then let it float away.

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.”

For 40 years I’ve gone back to Shunryu Suzuki’s foundational book “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind“. It’s short chapters progress to a deeper understanding of the concept of zen along with simple how-to’s about sitting in meditation. It will confuse at times and seem to be written in riddles. Not to worry, it will make sense over time.

It’s that easy. Do it every day if you can. Do it somewhere that is not very distracting if you can. Do what you can. I like the middle of a meeting. Go for some hard-core training and try it in a noisy house. As long as you keep doing it you’ll continue to reap the benefits of a calmer mind. An open mind. A “beginner’s mind”.

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    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

    - MARCUS AURELIUS

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