A while ago an email went out from our neighborhood association with the subject line: Lost Python. I am terrified of snakes, and I couldn't open the email for fear there would be a photo attached of said lost creature. So I did what anyone would do in a codependent marriage: I asked my husband open the email. Brian read to me all about this particular lost python, and then about this particular breed of python, and then about how this snake was not likely or even capable of eating our dog, Casey, nor me. He was trying to reassure me that I would be just fine on the many daily walks the dog and I enjoy together.
For the first two or three days after the email about the python was delivered, I was hyper aware of my surroundings. I didn't listen to any podcasts or music. I simply looked for that python everywhere. In the bushes. In the grass. In the trees. All that searching was the treasured nugget for me of being terrified of the lost python: I was completely in the moment every time I walked Casey. I noticed every sound. I noticed every bush and tree. I noticed every person. And the great thing about this python being lost in spring is that I was able to notice all the beautiful flowers. I became keenly aware of how I am often not being present in my life, and I'm either dwelling on the past or fleeing into the future.
Weeks after the email notifying us about the python was sent, we received an update about the pet. It had been hiding in its owners' pantry the entire time!
This past weekend we went camping, and we had no cell service. Once again I was thrust into being completely present because the things I used to distract myself, like addictively viewing pictures of puppies on Instagram, were not available to me. I came home from our trip more relaxed, my mind sharper, my anxiety diminished, and my spirit uplifted.
If this is resonating with you, if you're feeling like, "Oh, hey wait a minute, I'm not present to a lot of my life either," the good news is there is a very simple meditation you can do to bring yourself back into the present moment that I want to share with you. The meditation I'm sharing with you is one of my favorites for two reasons. One, it gives you permission to eavesdrop. Two, it can be done anywhere. I've done it on airplanes, in shopping malls, at restaurants, while laying in the grass with Casey. I call it the Tuning In Meditation. Here's how to do it:
Tuning In Meditation
- Find a comfortable spot to sit or lay down.
- If you wish, set an alarm on your phone. If you are new to meditation, try three minutes. If you feel like challenging yourself aim for five to ten minutes.
- Put the ringer on silent.
- Close your eyes.
- Notice every sound you hear. Every single one from people talking to the whooshing of fan blades to the clanking of glasses.
- If your mind wanders, tune back into every sound you hear.
- When your alarm sounds, slowly blink your eyes open and turn off your alarm.
- Take three deep breaths.
- Thank yourself for meditating.
- Go on and have yourself a great morning / day / evening!
The benefits of meditation reach far beyond training your mind to be in the present moment. It can lower your blood pressure and reduce stress to name a few. To learn more about the health benefits of meditation, click here (quick read) and here (scientific study that proves the benefits of meditating).