Interested in learning how to meditate? Great!
First, a word about what meditation is NOT.
Meditation (for me) does not involve joining a religious group. It does not require a special outfit. It does not require that one sit in a particular place, or a particular position.
It certainly does not involve “hugging a tree” or chanting “kumbaya” to the universe.
Second, a word about what it IS.
Meditation (for me) is simple, secular, scientifically validated exercise for your brain.
To get started, there are 3 simple things that I recommend.
- Sit up straight (think about that straight spine that our yoga teachers emphasize), in a position that you think you can comfortably hold for as long as you plan to sit.
- If you are comfortable doing so, close your eyes. If not, try facing a blank wall, so you are not easily distracted; and
- Identify an “anchor” that will help you focus the mind — the most common “anchor” is your breath. Pick a place in your body where the breath is most prominent (nose/upper lip/chest/belly). And simply focus on the movement of your breath, in and out.
Voila. Nothing to it. Quiet time has begun!
Now comes the fun part: As soon as you get physically comfortable and start to focus, your mind will go nuts. Self, meet your “monkey mind”.
— What am I going to have for lunch?
— Why did I say what I said to my boss/co-worker this morning?
— What do I need to do later this afternoon?
— What am I doing HERE, and who are these people I am sitting with?
— Etc., etc., etc.
That’s OK. The whole game is to notice when your mind gets caught up in a thought, and return to your anchor.
Start over, and over, and over. Every time you notice that your mind is caught up in a thought, simply start over.
And each time you do that, it’s like a bicep curl for your brain.
That’s not just me talking — it’s not some kind of mystical pabulum. It’s scientifically verifiable– scientists have documented this fact by conducting brain scans of meditators, in the lab.
It is also, by the way, a radical act. You’re breaking a lifetime habit of walking around in a fog of thought about what you did this morning, or what you will be doing later this afternoon.
Instead, you are focusing your mind on right now– on the present moment.
In other words — you’re meditating! (Or, at least, observing one tradition of simple meditation).
So, seriously, what does that have to do with my business? In my case, my law practice?
That’s a topic for another time, but suffice to say — at least for me — regular meditation can and does make a difference.
Finally, full disclosure: I am not a trained meditation teacher.
I am, however, an active practitioner who has attended several retreats (the longest being a 10-day affair), and have also sat through multiple led meditation sessions.
Most importantly, I am enthusiastic about sharing my practice with you. I am excited for you (for having found and read this blog). And I hope we will be able to sit together someday soon.
See you in the Bottom Line Yoga studio (hopefully, on a cushion, or two!).
Written by BLY Student, Jeff Bunn. Jeffrey H. Bunn is a practicing business litigator, partner with the Law Firm of Latimer LeVay Fyock LLC, past Chairman of the CBA Commercial Litigation committee, current Chairman of the CBA Mindfulness and the Law committee, and a practicing yogi/meditator at the Bottom Line Yoga, located in the Chicago Board of Trade Building.