It can be exhausting.
So on those rare days* when we might have an opportunity to sleep a little later or not be awakened by our phone alarms or clock radios (do those even exist anymore?) and we are in that magical nether world between sleep and consciousness, I recommend the following exercise, which I call “The Sleeping In Meditation."
The Sleeping in Meditation is part meditation, part body scan, and part “I don’t gotta do nothing, so I’m just gonna lie here for a bit and enjoy it.”
All of which can start your day from a little better place.
It starts when your eyes open naturally on their own and it goes a little something like this**:
--Get in touch with your breath impulse.
--Take three slow, fluid breaths. Try to emulate the breathing rhythm of sleep.
--Feel where your head meets the pillow. Luxuriate in the contact and the feeling.
--Feel the pleasant coolness or the comforting warmth of the sheets (however you perceive them).
--Feel your check on the pillowcase. Enjoy the comforting feeling of skin against fabric.
--Give your jaw some slack, unfurrow your brow, relax your eyes, nose, and mouth.
--Take a moment and listen to the ambient noises. Are there birds? Cars? kids laughing outside?
--Return your focus to your breath and continue breathing slowly and fluidly.
--As thoughts arrive, acknowledge them, and watch them float right on out of the other side of your mind.
--Return your focus to your breath and keep breathing slowly and fluidly.
--Sense your shoulders, torso, and hips touching the mattresses. Breathe into it.
--Feel the warmth of the covers over your shoulders and/or body. Use your senses. Enjoy it.
--Identify any negative sensations. Do you feel any tension? Discomfort? Pain?
--If possible make adjustments to minimize those sensations.
--If you can’t minimize them, breathe through them. Acknowledge what is.
--Relax your arms, hands, and fingers.
--If you’re not already there, adjust your body to your favorite sleeping position.
--Identify the places where you feel good, relaxed, and comfortable.
--Go deeper into those places of comfort and relaxation. Breathe into them. Enjoy them.
--Continue to breathe slowly and fluidly.
--Stretch and flex your toes and allow them to relax into a comfortable position.
--Think of a thing or two you're grateful for. Or say a quick prayer. Or think of one thing you want to do for YOU during the coming day.
--Before rising slowly (when and if you’re ready), spend a few minutes in this calm, meditative state and enjoy the peace and relaxation.
Of course you could probably do an abbreviated version of this meditation EVERY morning, but taking the time to go through this process on the days when you are able to sleep in is particularly satisfying and relaxing.
And from one teacher to another, I know you’ve earned it. TZT
*As it is Memorial Day, today might have been one of those days.
**And since I was off today for Memorial Day, I wrote this post before getting out of bed and I walked myself through the meditation so that I could report it for all of you in all its accuracy and entirety. The sacrifices I make for my readers, I tell you! ;)