Self-Hospitality Pt. 1: Meditation Essentials
Because, y’know, we’re all monks now.
Welcome to the new series Self-Hospitality. Its purpose is to give you everything you need to get the most out of meditation, self-care and this fresh new life we get to live with such powerful tools at our disposal. The weekly tools and principles I share will help you become more skilled and confident at meditating and just generally living with this thing called a mind.
Whether or not you’ve already learned meditation (with me or elsewhere), refer to this guide to either get you started or refresh you on the essentials.
I bet, even if you’ve been meditating for awhile, this series will reveal aspects of it that will make you say, “Wow, how come I didn’t know this?” You did. And you do. You just needed reminding. Meditation is a very radical way of being in ourselves…and yet it’s the most familiar place we know.
So a global crisis is happening and our health, well-being and safety is no longer a given. Even if life isn’t as threatening as the media drama suggests, the usual, more comfortable way we are used to living has been frozen and we have been forced to refocus our vigilance away from all the things we’ve told ourselves we need (more success, money, validation, social acceptance, fun experiences, etc) to what we actually. Right now, the essentials matter. Hopefully everyone takes advantage of life today to realize that this has always been true. All of the imagined needs of more Instagram followers and vintage basketball shoes have never really mattered. That may have sounded a bit dismissive, so let me rephrase: they never mattered as much as what really matters: you’re alive, you’re healthy, you’re equipped and able to help your tribe, etc. Right now is an opportunity to reconnect with what really matters in your life.
Meditation is a matter of essentials. Your mind will try and complicate the process with ideas of what should be happening – experiences you “need” to be having. But all that should be happening is what is actually happening when you simply think the mantra (or whatever you put your attention on when you meditate – I find mantras to be especially powerful meditation friends) and return your attention to it whenever you think to. There are no other mental acrobatics to perform. There is no “if I just focus really hard” or “try not to think” or “stay really calm” or “put my attention here when I think this and over there when I think that”.
And there are no stories to tell yourself like “I’d be having a better meditation if 1) I wasn’t such an overthinker 2) I slept better 3) I felt more settled in my career 4) I didn’t have such a stressful life”. No you’re having exactly the meditation you need to be. The meditation process is doing exactly the work it needs to do to help rebalance your mind and body and make you more battle-ready for this stressful life you live. Even if your meditation is experience feels chaotic and messy, as long as you’re not rejecting the mess, wishing it were different and attempting to make it otherwise, your meditation approach is perfectly streamlined. Perfect practice is perfect attitude – and perfect attitude is total acceptance.
So as we’re streamlining our lives and priorities, we need to also streamline our meditation practice. We’re keeping it simple not because we’re beginners and aren’t ready for something more advanced. We’re keeping it simple because seeing the value in simplicity is advanced – just as we may soon see how a stripped down life offers us even more potential than the storm of (alleged) obligations we’d been living prior.
You’ve Meditated…Now This Is Something You Can Do With It
After meditating, visualize what really matters in your life. Visualize living that life. You don’t have anything you normally have. Simply the clothes on your back and an opportunity to live as the person you want in every moment. Where do you put your energy? What makes you feel the most fulfilled?