Five minutes in the day, that’s not very much, is it? Five minutes, that’s all it takes to give the mind a chance to settle a bit before the day starts.
It goes like this. Finding a quiet place, and a chair to sit. Taking an alert and at same time relaxed posture, feet on the ground, and close your eyes. At first, orienting ourself to the general climate inside. Becoming aware of our body, the sensations, the tensions, places of ease. Relaxing the shoulders, the neck, the face, and any area where there may be tension. Making room for any lingering tightness also . . . Then zeroing in on the breath and the experience of the body being breathed. Body being breathed in, and out. Getting into a rhythm, noticing and relaxing around the breath. Not striving for any particular quality of the breath. Simply being with breath as it is, in each moment. Thoughts coming and going. Noticing the activity of the mind, thinking, because that is what the mind does. Not getting caught into any train of thought. Just noticing the thought, and then returning to the breath, or a neutral part of the body, using either as anchor for the mind to rest. Asking ourself the question, how am I feeling? Is this pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral? Not trying to change anything, only being aware. Turning attention back to body being breathed. ‘May I be at peace, may I be at ease’.
Five minutes, mindfully checking in with ourselves. Small ‘investment’, big ‘reward’ particularly for care partners whose ability to be present for the other person can make all the difference. The folks at Zen Hospice Project have known this for a long time with their mindful shift change tradition. Volunteer caregivers at Zen Hospice start their shift with five to ten minutes of sitting together in silence, followed by a brief check in, sharing where they are at that day. Mindful shift change meetings also allow for a seamless passing of the baton between departing volunteers and volunteers for the new shift.
If there is one thing you can do for yourself, and the one in your care, this would be it. Five minutes . . .