If not now, when?

You’re in lockdown. Plenty of time on your hands. Here’s what to do with it.

Find a straight backed chair or, if you’re comfortable sitting cross-legged, sit cross-legged. Or kneel. Hold your back upright, with your spine straight. Tuck your chin in, relax your shoulders and push up to the ceiling with the top of your head. If you’re sitting, your feet should be shoulder-width apart with your legs making a 90ᵒ angle at the knee. Rest your hands comfortably on your thighs. Relax, breathe.

Now, relaxed as you are, watch your breath. Watch it come into the nostrils and leave. It comes in, it goes out. You can’t stop it. Just observe; in it comes, out it goes, in out, in out, in out, on and on, now until you die. Just observe.

Relaxed concentration.  Relaxed awareness. Is the air coming into the left nostril, or the right nostril? Or both nostrils equally? Is it going out the same way it came in? Can you feel it on your upper lip? Is it warm? Is it heavy, is it light?

Just observe. And when your mind starts remembering what happened a week ago, or a minute ago or a year ago, or a lifetime ago, just bring it calmly back to your breath. And when it starts imaging the future, when will this lockdown end? will the finances hold up? just bring the mind back to the breath. No past memories, no future imaginings, just the present … which is the breath.

This simple, but powerful, technique is a form of meditation. There are other ways to meditate but this form has been practised for centuries by people of every stripe and colour. Doing it for five minutes is good. More is better. But there’s no hurry. Build up at your own pace. Just to do it is the thing.

So, here’s the choice; either you spend your hours at home inventing distractions, or you allow the beauty of a still mind and a still body to come to you. You won’t find it easy. It takes work. It takes discipline. It takes determination. But will you ever find a better moment to begin than now?