Meditation ~ A Lesson in Receiving

“Your body is precious.  It is our vehicle for awakening.  Treat it with care.”  ~  Buddha

The calm of a sunset
The calm of a sunset

A meditation class I went to the other day got me thinking about the “giving season”, which is now upon us in full-force.  That most joyous of holiday seasons when we open our hearts and our wallets and give generously, if we are able.  You cannot turn on the TV and listen to a news broadcast without hearing a feel-good story about someone giving from the heart, and thank goodness for these acts of kindness.

Ah yes, the holiday season when children’s smiling faces are seen making their lists for Santa; the smell of sugar cookies and warmed cider permeating the air; and twinkling lights and brightly wrapped packages dazzling us.  Are we all feeling euphoric now or are some of you feeling a tad bit stressed thinking about all that must be accomplished before the holiday comes swooping in?   Here is the other side of this blessed season that the smaller eyes do not see and that we oft-times block out.  This is also the season of serial multi-tasking, between jobs, cooking, cleaning, and immersing ourselves in the streams of traffic and rubbing elbows with the hordes of stressed-out holiday shoppers not unlike ourselves.

Most all that we do at this time of year is done in that beautiful act of giving, for family, friends, and those in need, but let’s not forget the flip-side to this record, the act of receiving, perhaps the less popular of the two, but so very important.

How long has it been since you have done something just for you?  Sitting with eyes shut at the beginning of my class, listening to the instructor talk about opening ourselves up to receiving the breath, the life-force, letting it wash over our cells, got me thinking (ok, not during the class because I was meditating, you know) that we need this ‘me’ time more now than perhaps any other time of the year.

Sun's final rays illuminating the heavens
Sun’s final rays illuminating the heavens

I do believe in the power of meditation and there is a tremendous amount of science to support its benefits but if you just do not feel you have the time or cannot sit still long enough to appreciate the positive aspects of meditating, here are a few thoughts to kick around:

  1. Deep, diaphragmatic-breathing, practiced while meditating, expands the air pockets of the lungs, invoking the relaxation response.
  2. Second only to sunlight, oxygen is the most needed nutrient by the human body.
  3. We have roughly 50 trillion cells in our bodies, begging for this life-giving oxygen.
  4. Diseases thrive in our body in an anaerobic (lacking oxygen) state so deep-breathing delivers disease-fighting energy to our tissues.

The act of receiving is so vitally important and so often forgotten.  During this joyous yet hectic time of year, don’t forgot about you as you get caught up in the excitement of the season.  Whether you feel you have the time or the patience for a regular meditation practice, even 10 minutes a day is a good place to start. Perhaps a good place to begin is when you get into your car before merging into the stream of traffic jockeying for position or when you pull into a parking lot before entering that packed mall.  Sit still and imagine bathing your cells in a warm, comforting blanket of oxygen or perhaps standing in a meadow on a warm spring day, sunlight dancing across your upturned face, breathing deeply of the heady scent of wildflowers, whatever it takes to calm your mind and renew your spirit.  May we all practice a little receiving during this “giving season”. 

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