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January 24, 2011

(Angkor Wat, Cambodia, 2003)

Ten minutes into an LA to SF flight, I exercised my right to look left.

Aisle twin to my left in 12C was asleep.



Three more people to my left slumbering away their free Virgin wi-fi and good for them. And only ten minutes, if that, into the flight.

It’s not often we humans move quickly into rest. It. Is. Not. Often. When semi-forced to abide by a no-doing rule, though, many of us actually happily do.

Something or much to do with confined space, phone powered off, no email ability typically, laptop stuck in carry-on in overhead compartment, trays and laptops put away during take-off/before landing and motion meshed with white noise ~ all of it forces us, for good or bad, to stop, even snooze.

Beyond cabin space & place (the real world) we’re spoiled, however. We’ve made ourselves used to near perfect conditions to be able to just sit.  We can only chill if it’s quiet enough/warm enough/cool enough/on a beach in Maui-enough.

But ~ try it ~ you really only need a comfortable seat. A bony butt or lumpy seat ain’t no good but everything else around you doesn’t have to be any different.

So, don’t just do something, sit there. (or, in other real-life words, cancel plans (the “overbookings”), turn the phone off or resist the temptation to multi-task, these are great examples of basically the same thing)

And if didn’t happen this weekend, here’s how for the week or following days off:

1) Schedule five minutes.

2) Sit for five minutes, with nothing but that comfortable seat under you. Turn the TV and music off. Human or car sounds are what they are, try not to focus on them.

3) Do focus on a word. Repeat it in your mind as often as you can in those minutes. (I heard a story about a pretty experienced yogi, if I remember correctly, who repeated coke, as in coca-cola to focus him. So, yes, you can make it real; anything that gets you to sit. Needn’t ever be anything “too yogi”, especially if it’s not your thing).

3a) Or, if focusing on a word doesn’t click, count each breath. This has a similar outcome. Every time you exhale, count it as one. When you get to ten, return to one. Again, for five minutes (set that fancy phone to a soothing alarm so you don’t have to keep checking the clock). In either option, make sure to breathe as deeply as you can, but of course.

We breathe way too shallow, every day, to keep good health.

4) Commit to twice a week, say Tuesday and Thurs, before the day starts. Five minutes ~ two mornings.

When yours truly first started I couldn’t believe I hadn’t tried it before. And, you can grow this to 30 minutes or more and benefits do grow. But don’t think (worry) about more time for now. It needn’t be anything more than a few minutes. Try this short time for a week and see if it doesn’t make you feel like you’ve drank close to your eight glasses of water.

To end these Sit-ting thoughts, please watch this: Surely if he can, you can do.

(And if his bad a** little self wasn’t meditating but falling asleep just like my neighbors on Virgin flight 945, well, then that’s just as good 😉 


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