Lori Kahn: Becoming the Observer
Meditation is an exercise in becoming the observer of ones thoughts, feelings and sensations and deciding not to DO anything about any of it.
Just the idea of it is irritating. Imagine sitting still, worse yet, on a floor with your legs crossed without moving while the traffic roars by, horns are honking, dogs barking, birds singing, legs falling asleep, stomach growling, your cell phone buzzing nearby and you are stuck, frozen!! This image is enough to say, hmm,I’d better wait til it’s quiet or late at night when everyone is sleeping, or on the weekend, or next month, next year, or when I’m older and have nothing to do! We put it off until we’re comfortable and have some peace and quiet. But someday isn’t when you need some peace of mind is it?
The funny thing is, if we PRACTICE, which is all there is to meditation, repetition, practice … things really do begin to recede into the distance, slow down and pass by as if in a dream. Then we can begin to sift through the stuff that is totally irrelevant, already dealt with or no longer an issue and practice letting them go. Then the next group of thoughts and sensations can present themselves for observation. The mind gets to decide. It orchestrates, “You go, you can stay and I will deal with you later; you are no longer important and you I will sit with; keep company and breathe quietly until you relax a little and stop complaining so loud!” Suddenly it occurs to you, that you can sit back and breathe from your quiet steady observation post and choose, truly choose what you want to engage in. And in that moment, you have found it, PEACE at last.
Start with 3 breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth, let the exhale grow longer with each breath.
Now breath through the nose, in and out, notice how the breath feels, what the temperature of the breath feels like going in and how it is different going out. Notice how your body feels and make subtle adjustments to find comfort and alignment. Listen to the sounds around you and then narrow the focus to the sound of your own breath coming in and going back out again. You are becoming the observer.
Now as the thoughts line up to be reckoned with you can look at them as if from a distance, like watching a silent movie on a screen, words on a ticker tape. You can observe them, inquire of them. Are you relevant, are you happening right now, do I need to resolve you right this second? If the answer is no, then return to the observation deck, find the inhale and the exhale and let yourself rest. It only takes a moment, this moment.