Ah, August - my unofficial (although it might as well be official) Month of Travel. It seems every August I'm running from one place to the next like a chicken with my head cut off, and/or hosting far away friends who are visiting or need a place to crash. It's like the last minute mad rush to do things and see people before September brings us back to the "back to school" routine. I'm not alone on this, particularly in the city - August is the emptiest month of the year around here.
It was this time last year that I finally managed to find a consistent time to meditate every. single. day. I took a little European Vacation from it this spring, but aside from that I've been able to sit every single day. It doesn't mean that I sit and suddenly feel relaxed and peaceful. Most of the time I sit and one part of my brain repeats a mantra while the other part just starts rambling on about my to-do lists or what's happening later on that day. It's very much the downside of multitasking.
I think part of why I tend to reconnect to meditation at this time of year is because the break from the normal routine both makes me feel the need to have some sort of grounding ritual and that I'm spending more time being rather than doing, which leads to my mind actually being able to quiet for a moment or two.
I'm so over-connected these days, and I think a lot of people suffer from this. It's automatic habit after a class is over or I'm sitting on the train home or whatever to check my phone, to check my email, to check my facebook, to start reading my book again. My mind never gets a chance to rest and do nothing - it's no wonder than when I sit down to purposefully rest in nothingness my brain doesn't know what to do with itself!
Last month's meditation practice was a really wonderful set of mantras I learned in the Karma Kids Teen Yoga Teacher Training. Erin (our amazing facilitator) gave us a CD of meditations, one of which was a Breathing Meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh. I repeated this meditation to myself every single morning, and while at first it was all shiny and new and I felt focused, once I got used to repeating it, my mind did that annoying split-down-the-middle thing where part of it just goes off and thinks about anything else but my breath or the present moment.
This month, I don't have an exact mediation technique, but I am going for some element of quiet, space, and listening. There's a quote - and I can't seem to find who it's attributed to - that says something like, "Prayer is talking to God. Meditation is listening to Him." I realized that just as I go through my day and scarcely give myself a moment to just do one thing at a time or even just nothing, I always sit to meditate with a plan, a mantra, a "right" way. That quote has never been true for me because I never have the space to listen.
We'll see if I hear anything worth sharing! In the meantime, I'll be trying to keep up with my neverending quest to unplug and mono-task and enjoy my jet-setting for the next 31+ days. Happy August, everyone!