Although life has slowed in some ways during the COVID pandemic, this is most likely not a time you are feeling at one with the universe. You may be experiencing a chronic sense of alarm, or a constant undercurrent of anxiety. And coping with vision loss, on top of that, usually adds its own layer of insecurity. Wouldn’t you love to find a way to get a daily dose of Zen?
Let’s try meditation. It doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming for it to work, and you can begin benefitting from just a few minutes a day, right away. The more you do, the better you get. The simple act of being still and breathing deeply lowers stress hormones and can help with depression, anxiety and sleep issues. Meditation is a loving and mellow fitness program for your mind. No Sweat.
There are plenty of apps and guided meditations available to try, but the best way to begin a mediation practice may be this totally uncomplicated 4-step approach.
1. Designate a place to meditate each morning at the same time.
2. Mute your phone and turn off all other noise you can control.
3. Sit in a chair with back straight, shoulders relaxed, feet on the floor and hands in your lap with palms up or down. The idea is to be as neutral as possible so there’s no need to fidget.
4. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Take a long breath in and let it out slowly. Listen to the rhythm of your breathing.
Commit to at least 5 minutes each morning for the first week. When you feel ready, add a second meditation at the end of the day and increase the time of each practice to 10, 15 or 20 minutes as you progress.
To get started, keep it as simple as possible. Set a gentle timer so you won’t have to think about the time that has elapsed. Your mind will wander, that’s okay, bring it back to focus on the breathing. It may be helpful to count to 4 as you inhale and again as you exhale. Feel free to add some soothing music, a version of the lotus position, and a peaceful word or mantra, if you like.
This is simple, entry level meditating. Keep it up and feel the benefits, short term and long. Or let it be the springboard to becoming a Zen Master. Either way, it’s just minutes a day, and your mind, body and soul will thank you for it.