Meditation - an Introduction of Sorts

I’d like to welcome you to the first of what (I hope) will be a regular series on meditation.

For the last thirty years and more, Americans have been pushing their nervous systems into continual overload with various kinds of stimulation, and I’ve come to think that this is another symptom of the deeply troubled national conscience …

A mind that’s constantly flooded with noise from television, video games, or what have you, is a mind that never has the time or space to think its own thoughts, and in a nation that’s trying not to notice that it’s sold its own grandchildren down the river, that’s probably the point of the exercise. Be that as it may, recovering the ability to think one’s own thoughts, to clear one’s mind of media-driven chatter, manufactured imagery, and all the other thoughtstopping clutter we use to numb ourselves to the increasingly unwelcome realities of life in a failing civilization, is an indispensable tool for surviving the challenges ahead...[1]

The passage above is from The Archdruid Report, a weekly blog written by John Michael Greer on the changes modern society will need to make to adapt to diminishing supplies of cheap oil. It’s a fascinating blog and one I try to read every week.

His post last week made me think of meditation and the relentless pixel wars of our modern lives.

Each week, I am going to try to provide some simple meditation exercises for readers to practice on their own.

Now, each of us have limitations - medical, emotional, physical and otherwise. Please recognize and work with your own personal limitations to the best of your ability. Use limitations as a means to be creative with excercizes. Give it your best effort - nothing more nor less. There’s no test here, no right or wrong way to do something. No judgment. There’s only practice.

With practice, there’s progress.

What could be more progressive than progress?

Practice 1

Straighten your spine.

That’s it. That’s this week’s exercise. Just spend the next week practicing to straighten your spine.

Right now, you are - more than likely - sitting in front of a computer screen while reading these words. Take a moment, put both feet flat on the floor, stretch your shoulders back, gently arch your back out of its comfy little slump, and straighten your spine.

Slowly and gently roll your head in one direction and then back again. Wiggle your shoulders. From the waist, gently sway forward and backward. Now sway side to side. Reach your arms over head. Take a little stretch! Bring your arms back down to your sides. Do you feel any tension? Try to relax - without slumping - and hold your spine straight. Try to feel your spine align from the very top of your head straight through to your tailbone.

(Ignore Betty in the next cubicle for a moment...)

If you can, get up out of your chair, (cowboy boots and high heels off, please) plant both feet firmly on the ground and stand up with a nice straight spine. Stretch again. Enjoy the feeling of standing.

Take a little walk across the room, holding yourself upright. Nicely done!

For the next week, try to be conscience of your posture. Whenever possible, take advantage of straightening your spine. While waiting in line at the grocery store, talking on the phone, walking the dog, washing the dishes, checking your email, taking a shower. Sitting, standing, walking, lying down - gently remind yourself as often as possible through out the week to take a little stretch and straighten your spine.

In the words of a friend, be happy and strong. --Susie

[1] Hair Shirts, Hypocrisy, and Wilkins Micawber By John Michael Greer, Archdruid Report, May 11, 2011

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