Following my breath ala Thich Nhat Hanh turned me into a meditation guru.  Well, almost.  Thich is more about being in the moment.  And I agree it is all we have. This link introduces you to his work.

Thich Nhat Hanh: Peace Is Every Breath: The Light of Awareness.

Another of my teachers has been the guru of how to be an expert–K. Anders Ericsson.   He believes 10,000 hours of practice is the least required to rise to an expert level in almost every field.  Moreover, he believes the practice must be deliberate. There are four components to what he experts call Deliberate Practice: 

  1. The practice follows a specific routine.
  2. The routine is repeated regularly and frequent
  3. A feedback method is attached to the routine so progress can be measured and corrections made.  Rating scales are useful for this purpose. Almost anything can be rated.  Here is a simple 4 Level rating scale to measure your progress in learning  any exercise.
    1. You have to stop to read the directions;
    2. You have to consciously talk yourself through
    3. You no longer need to talk yourself through,
    4. You do it easily and correctly all the time.

We all breathe, but we do so without awareness.   EFTI’s One Minute Meditation (OMM) combines being in the now with deliberate practice.   Once properly learned is a quick and easy way to find a moment of calm when stress visits. Helpful in slowing down the rush to act impulsively on a strong feeling.  Moreover, it can be repeated and you might find yourself meditating for more than a minute. To practice the OMM:

  1. Take a slow breath in.
  2. As you are breathing in, tighten or imagine tightening all your muscles from you toes to your head.
  3. Hold your breath and the tightness for at least 5 seconds.
  4. Starting with your head, release the tightness as you breathe out.
  5. End this Calming Breath by saying “Ahhh” and smiling gently.
  6. Breathe normally for at least 5 breaths repeat a calming slogan inside your head.
  7. Notice what it feels like to just breathe and repeat your slogan.
  8. End with another Calming Breath.

Think of a safe place while meditating.  Create one from your good memories.  Be patient, it will takes time to put together a strong safe place. Include sights, smells, sounds, people who calm you, pets.  Some people can see their safe place. Others do better describing it in words.

Find a calming slogan or sing a calming song.

Add movement. A number of the hyperactive kids I taught to meditated learned to  hold one hand in the other and to press on one finger as breathing in, holding the finger tightly and then  slowly releasing the pressure while breathing out.  Doing so served the need to move and also maintained focus on breathing.

STAYING STRONG TIP:  When first learning the OMM, practice only when already in a semi-relaxed state.  Then as you find its calming effect growing, use it during light stress.  In time, it will offer you a few moments of calm in highly stressed situations.   

A second tip: Set up several triggers for practicing.  Waiting on hold on the telephone, waiting for something to load into your computer, sitting at a red light in traffic are examples of times you can practice.  The more you practice the stronger the calming.

PRACTICE KINDNESS  Share this post with another. Kindness is a circle coming back to the giver.



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