It is an unusually warm 80-degree day, with perfectly cool mornings in the low 60’s and every flower seems to be in bloom in Laguna Beach.  I drive along the same streets day in and day out and am suddenly taken aback at the sites and smells of fragrant wisteria, explosions of roses hanging over fences, vibrant purple hillsides of the ice plant, wild iris, ruby red geraniums practically pushing out of sidewalks and home veggie gardens beginning to take off.

It is all so breathtaking as if I am seeing our town for the first time.

This is the perfect season to plant the seeds of awareness with Meditation!

We can look to nature to remind us that everything is impermanent, constantly unfolding, and we can be surprised by everything if we practice keeping our eyes and ears open and really paying attention to the moment we are in.  This is the heart of meditation, an eternal springing open of the awareness.  Using our senses, as the meter for when we are “present” or not is a great tool and can be cultivated and grown and harvested at will!

The Practice:

Sitting comfortably with your spine elongated, your legs and arms relaxed and your eyes gazing softly at the floor or closed.  Take a deep breath in through the nose and exhale as slowly as you can through the mouth, like blowing on a feather or a bubble floating through the air!!  Do this 3 times noticing the sensations in your body; does it feel like your inner engine is slowing down?  With each breath allow your concentration to focus on how the breath feels in the body.

Now allow your breath to move in and out of the nose and let go of trying hard to do it and just let it happen.  Your breath is going with or without your attention to it, so this is your opportunity to train the mind to PAY ATTENTION to this flow that is happening inside of you all the time!  Notice the temperature of the breath, whether it is deep or shallow, fast or slow.  Try counting how long it takes you to inhale and how long it takes to exhale a couple of times.  You are becoming the observer of everything, allowing your senses to “feel” what is happening now; instead of in your thoughts on what has happened in the past or could happen in the future!

Scanning your body, imagine you can feel the breath moving from your feet, up to your ankles, shins and calves, behind the knees, and up into the thighs.  You can feel the weight and the shape of your legs, from the bones out to the skin.  Allow the breath to continue to scan up into the torso, and notice if your muscles are contracted in your back or belly by softening from the inside out.  Let the collarbones spread, and the shoulders drop into the elbows and the elbows into the earth.

Lower the chin slightly, lengthening the back of your neck, let your eyes roll down and forward, softening your jaw and letting your teeth be parted, while the top of the head feels like it stretches to the sky.

Using your senses to FEEL your body and direct your breath, you will notice that you have forgotten about all the thoughts and worries.  You can let go of “doing” the practice and just float in sensation and awareness or you can continue to scan from the feet to the crown and back down to the feet again.

When your monkey mind wants to get in the game, just take a deep breath, blow out slowly and come back to the awareness of breath and body sensations.

When you try this practice every day for a few minutes, it is like planting  seeds (of awareness), giving them water and sunshine and waiting patiently while they grow.  This garden keeps on giving!!

Happy Spring!

Lori at OM