Local Yoga: ‘Being There’ as Meditation
How often do we get to experience quality time with our friends and loved ones? When I asked myself this question, I discovered something eye opening. While in the presence of friends and family, more often than not, I find that my brain is preparing for the next adventure. This is a sign for me to slow down and hit the reset button.
Human contact is essential for our health and well-being. Heart connections keep the spirits lifted and the immune system strong. Real, genuine conversation keeps the mind sharp and youthful. So, I asked myself, how can I be fully present during my downtime with friends and family without feeling guilty that I’m not mentally tackling my to-do list? My heart responded quickly and proposed that I treat every human interaction as a living, breathing meditation.
Similar to seated meditation, which takes about 20 minutes each day to open our mind and heart, we can take the same amount of time each day to enjoy a conversation with someone that lights a spark within our soul. We all notice when we are interacting with someone that is distracted, half listening and quick to speak. If you find yourself doing that, now is the perfect time to commit to being fully present during your social interactions, even if it’s for only 20 minutes.
Put away the phone, turn off the TV and avoid doing anything that will take your mind away from the beautiful human being you are interacting with. This one might be a challenge! In 20 minutes’ time, I can reach for my phone to create a memo, check my calendar, take a photo and fact check something that someone just told me. Don’t worry, there will be time to post pictures later.
One of my favorite things about meditation is that it provides the opportunity to listen. Magic happens when we listen. Prayers are answered when we listen. Messages come to us when we listen. If you find yourself quick to speak, now is a good time to clear up those mental pathways. Just be and listen.
FaceTime and Skype are great if that’s all you have time for, but the best part about actual human interaction is that you get to hug it out. Science has found hugs to be incredibly healing for the nervous system, and they can leave a smile on your face for hours afterward. Be sure to end this meditation with a heartfelt hug.