Are you feeling overwhelmed by everyday life challenges, making you dream for the ‘better times’ that will come? Would you like to take a yoga class or go on a mindfulness retreat somewhere but for various reasons you can’t? Or maybe you are making a lot of effort to attend different meditation classes and mindfulness retreats? Would you do anything to escape your reality for a bit?
The good news is that you can bring that peaceful place into your home, in just one corner.
Covid was, for many of us, a very challenging period of time. People faced a scarcely imaginable situation, which made managing it difficult. It involved adapting to a context where uncertainty, fear, and panic creeped into our thoughts and lives. It was so easy to lose one’s calm. We suddenly had the space and time to look at our lives, to see it as it is, to look inside ourselves – in short, to practice (Involuntary) mindfulness. And yet, not many people seemed keen to engage in this introspection. Instead, our state of peace was placed, again, in an uncertain future – when will we return to “normality”?
During that period, I was asked by a colleague if I could provide the address of a meditation retreat. In that moment, I saw myself reflected. Every time I had a holiday, instead of opting for a five-star beach resort I chose to go on a spiritual, detox retreat that will change me in a better, calmer, wiser self.
But, upon my return from that space, specially created to experience calmness and peace with no distractions, I realised that I had to confront the chaos of everyday life. Chaos which hardly supports and contributes to your wellbeing, to your Zen – being relaxed and not worrying about the things you cannot change.
After all the months, weeks, or days spent on those retreats, when I thought I had turned into a Buddha and achieved my state of calm, at the first trigger in my daily life, I reacted. Most of the time, I reacted negatively, with my calm flying out the window.
I now understand that the wisest option, for me, is to find my breath and ‘Zen’ in chaos – in the noisy world of everyday life. And, like you, I can do this in the very space of my own home.
You can create your own retreat in your own home, without impacting your finances. Spread the mattress, carpet, or pillow and sit down. Sit on that chair at your workplace.
Close your eyes and look inside.
Stop procrastinating – waiting until you get to the studio for a yoga class. Don’t put it off until you go to that retreat. Stop looking for the perfect moment, it doesn’t exist.
The perfect time is now.
Sit with yourself. Create time for yourself.
You don’t need to know how to meditate to begin, and you can stop researching all kinds of methods which only give your mind something else to chew on.
Close your eyes, start to feel your body, notice any sensation, any noise around you, notice what you feel, how you feel, how much noise is in your head. In short, observe.
How many seconds or minutes have passed and you already feel like getting up, scratching, moving, running, because you’re bored, because it’s not for you? Look at the time that has passed by. That’s how much time you can stay with yourself, with what is within.
But don’t give up.
Arrive on your mat or your chair every day – ideally at the same time.
Slowly, slowly get used to spending time with yourself, to look at yourself and less at others. Not with the intention of comparing yourself, or judging against others. Meditate, reflect…you have the space. There is no other place or other time more appropriate than right now.
Today, I invite you to meditate on your need for escape.
Notice how you run away from the present moment; how you run away from yourself.
Consider, for a moment, if you feel that your joy is somewhere else – in another place or in another time, when it was/will be ‘better’, and if you need the ‘perfect’ circumstances to find your peace.
Bring yourself back, in the present moment, to your life!
Approach it as if you are here for the first time; look at it with the curiosity of a newborn discovering the world. Who is around you? Who are the people you are with and how do you relate to them? What are the things that you have? Don’t look at what’s missing. Find out what is already there.
I am not inviting you to access thankfulness or gratitude. I invite you to recognise how you really feel about yourself and everything that surrounds you. To bring the ‘unseen’ into view.