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Like wind in the sails

Have you noticed small, practical things that help you fall more swiftly into meditation--or into insight or connection or prayer or no-nonsense honesty and creativity? Have you noticed insightful shifts after using the toilet? Santa Teresa de Avila did. Have you noticed feeling fresher and brighter after a dip in water or a shower? Or feeling around the time of dusk, flooded with appreciation or awe, or feeling your mind shift into quiet, subtle layers of connection and receptivity? Especially during this month of devoting daily practice towards awakening in the world, it can be fun to play with the question of what helps meditation be deeper. To play with, for example,... Getting up the first time you wake up, even if it's in the middle of the night. You could just sit up. And then maybe you get up--being aware of how lighting affects your mind, only using warm-colored light. And once you're up, instead of debating whether or not to get up, you could splash your face with water, or drink in some fresh air. And then, you could just go back to bed. Already you might find a difference in your "second sleep."

Or by now, you might feel like just taking a shower, maybe even giving yourself an oil massage before and afterwards. You could just go back to bed after the shower. You really can. And the "second sleep" may be deep and cleansing. Or you might feel more like putting on some clean clothes, and maybe doing some yoga. Maybe a long, long out-breath--breathing out as much as you feel you can, and then some more. And just a natural in-breath. Maybe real, fresh air, if you can at that time of night. Maybe some alternate nostril breathing--in through the left nostril, out through the right. Then in through the right, out through the left. Then you could just go back to bed.

Your "second sleep" is likely to be nourishing. But you may instead feel like lying on the earth for a while. Perhaps you will sleep right there, or perhaps you will feel more like going to sit or lie down in a favorite meditation spot. For a while. Before you go back to sleep. And maybe your "second sleep" will feel a lot like a deeply restorative meditation. The time of day or night is one element we can play with, and find what works well. The threshold times of sunrise and sunset are considered times of power. The very early morning is another time that may call you. In India, it is common practice to bathe and put on clean clothes before meditation, and to do yoga and meditate on an empty stomach. It is worth trying how it fits you. You might try some of these supports for the 2 "treatment-meditations" each week on Tuesday at 9-9:30 p.m. and Friday at 10 a.m., both Indian time: Beforehand, shower, put on fresh clothes, and then, if you can, lie on the earth for about 20 minutes. And if you can, return to lie on the earth for another 20 minutes after the meditation.

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