Morning Ritual Challenge
A very simple but effective type of meditation is the practice of fixing your gaze on one steady object for a set period of time. You may have heard of an adult practice of fixing one’s gaze on a candle flame.
Even five minutes of single-pointed concentration is a great way to reduce stress in your life. By starting this kind of meditation practice every morning, you can start a path towards a less hectic, more productive day!
Here’s how its done!
1. Choose something to be the object of your gaze. This is an important choice. A candle flame works so well for an adult practice because it is at once con- stant and ever changing. A candle flame has a small amount of movement that keeps drawing you in, but it doesn’t change so much that it inspires thoughts or ideas.
2. Sit down with your chosen object in front of you. If you are outside using an object in nature for this practice, make sure you have some- thing clean and comfortable to sit on. Sit up tall and take a few full breaths to prepare.
3. Set a timer for two minutes (this is a good amount of time to start with, but you can try more or less depending on your capacity and experience).
4. Fix your gaze on the object you’ve chosen, and let it fill up your mind.
5. Now, here is the most important part of this practice: When your mind wanders away from your object, try to notice right away, and then bring it back. The exercise of noticing your mind wandering, and practicing bringing it back, is the true purpose of this activity. Keep practicing until your timer goes off.
6. When the timer goes off, close your eyes and try to keep the object you have been gazing at fixed in your mind. Take a few full breaths, and when you are ready open your eyes.
You may feel frustrated when you notice your mind wandering. The point of the practice is not to stay connected to their object for the whole time you are practicing, if your mind wanders they are not doing anything wrong. Everyone’s mind wanders. It is the minds job to make thoughts, and that is a good thing! This activity is about noticing when our mind wanders, and that every time we notice the mind wandering we are doing the activity perfectly.
Morning Practice: Learning to notice when your mind wanders, and bring it back to the activity you want to be focusing on, is a vital life skill.
You can remind yourself of this practice anytime you have something important to do. Take a few full breaths before starting, and remind yourself that it is totally natural for your mind to wander. Whether you’re trying to focus on learning, or listen- ing to a friend talk, your mind will still keep making thoughts. The important thing is that you can recognize when your mind is wandering, and bring it back.