The Ridiculous Minimum
When I started practicing (emphasis on practicing) meditation about 15 years ago, I coined a term called the ridiculous minimum, this is the amount of time one will commit to a given action that is so unbelievably small that said person would feel silly not following through. I am still waiting for the term to go viral so I can genuinely coin this term…in the meantime it has served me and a handful of other folks in my life abundantly.
My ridiculous minimum for meditation in the early days was the amount of time it took me to count 10 cycles of breath, about two minutes; I didn’t even need to set my alarm earlier. I would love to say that I committed daily and never looked back, but as a practitioner of Satya (truthfulness), there were many mornings I was still dashing out of my house off to work coffee drizzling in tow. One of my first Aha! moments came after noticing how on days I didn’t take those 10 conscious breaths I was so much less capable to gracefully deal with the hard hitting sophomore students I was teaching at the time, there was a lot more principal visitations on those days.
Over the course of time, I have taken workshops, read books and experimented with many different techniques. What has always resonated the most for me is simply sitting, noticing, allowing and coming back to the breath. At the time of my 10 breath ridiculousness, it was truly a tall order to sit that long, but it was a time that didn’t frighten me, didn’t encourage me to avoid the practice all together. What was truly ridiculous back then was the thought of sitting for 10-20 minutes, I didn’t even stress about those kind of high-falutent goals, I just wanted a place to begin.
Over time meditation has had it’s divine way with me, it has caressed and coerced me into sitting typically for 20 minutes each morning nowadays. I’m not gonna lie, it isn’t always pretty, sooooo much goes on in this vast mind and heart that often is screaming for me to bolt, “get ON with your day ALREADY!”, “you NEED coffee, what about the coffee?!”, “leave now, you won’t have to be sad about that thing, or angry about the other thing”, etc. etc. and yet I sit.
I sit because I have been profoundly moved and amazed at the life circumstances that have come my way in the last 15 years that I would have never sat through: death of loved ones, profound heartbreak, exciting career changes, a crappy haircut. Circumstance that I would have medicated, ignored, avoided or stuffed, ANYTHING BUT sit, notice, allow and breath through. We don’t have to be good at meditation we just have to show up, be willing, practice.
I have found that as I have shown up for my personal exploration of meditation (and it is oh so personal, no one right way) mediation has shown up far more than the mere 10 breaths or 20 minutes that I have given to it.
Leslianna is a much loved yoga teacher, and jewelry designer. She is currently in Nantucket for the summer and will be back to teach at Nava in the Fall.