Even if all we have is 15 (or even 5) minutes to commit to working with our minds on a daily basis, this is a crucial resolve. I myself used to do longer sessions once a week when I started to practice sitting meditation, and when I moved into shorter daily sessions I discovered how it was easier to mix the experience with an active life. Plus, the advice given by the lineage masters is to do as many short sessions as possible when we are starting to practice. Here are a few pointers on how to make the most in 15 minutes of meditation.
Relaxation As The First Foundation
As soon as we sit down we can guide ourselves to relax. Relaxation is the most important aspect of starting our practice. It allows for the body to settle into its own natural rhythms and it is much easier to explore our minds from a place of relaxation. Even if all we manage to achieve is a slight sense of relaxation during the whole session, we must consider this a very well invested time. This transition of going from a tense to a relaxed state is also a crucial skill to develop. We can make this be the one tool we bring with us throughout our busy day. We can also start to notice the joy of relaxing, the sense of spaciousness and allowing, which is born from releasing into relaxation, is in itself quite a lovely experience.
The easiest way I find to start relaxing is to allow the attention release from our heads into our bodies with a few deep breaths. Just breath and bring attention to the sensations throughout the body, feel if there is any tension in the face, neck, shoulders, belly, etc, and allow it to relax simply by becoming aware of these body parts.
When To Let Go Without Giving Up
If we find that observing body parts and sensations throughout the body is becoming tiring within the session, we can divide the session into as many mini sessions as possible. Simply stop trying to do anything for a few moments and then come back to whatever the main technique is. We can play with this whenever we feel we are losing our edge for practice.
Trust In The Unseen Progress
Even though sometimes we may feel like we are not making any progress from day to day, it is important to understand that a big chunk of progress will not be perceptible at a conscious level. That means we must trust that by keeping our daily commitment, we are moving forward by creating a positive habit. On the other hand, we are are also developing discipline and diligence which are two key elements of resilience in our path of spiritual development.
Relating Active Life To Out Sitting Time
As mentioned earlier, it is key to incorporate our meditative discoveries into our active lives. If we want to create a positive habit that spills over into our daily activities we must learn to let these two become one. After all, it is the same mind which is experiencing both the sitting time and the moving time. Using conscious relaxation as an example, we can use our mindful awareness to detect patterns of tension throughout our daily activities and then apply a sense of open relaxation so as to create more space and feel more at ease in activities.
These are some ways devoting just a few minutes of daily, conscious practice can transform our lives. Trust your own discoveries. This is a personal science of mind. Only you can know if this is beneficial or not through your own direct experience.