I am really feeling the benefit of peppering my day with mini-meditations right now. The next one I want to share with you is this: loving the small stuff.
I learned this wonderful mini-meditation practice from one of my teachers recently. It’s one that she does every day and I can see why.
I am already a fan (and frequent practitioner) of gratitude practices. I include them in my online and face-to-face programs. But this one has a really delightful twist.
A commonly quoted gratitude practice — and one with solid research to validate the benefits — is known as “three good things.” It was developed and tested by Dr. Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology. You count three good things from your day before you go to sleep each night for a week, and reflect on why they went well. It’s been shown to reduce depression and increase happiness; it changes your focus from what has gone wrong to things that you might otherwise take for granted — and be grateful for them!
What was so refreshing about the exercise that my meditation teacher described recently was that it was an open, still and quiet receiving of what was good, rather than an effortful striving to generate or recall what was good. And rather than an intellectually generated list, which is still genuine and transformative of your mood, it was an intuitive feeling — a “body sense” of appreciation that arose. Actually experimenting with this is the best way to get a real sense of the difference.
- Choose a quiet place that you love.
It could be a room with an outlook you enjoy, but even better would be somewhere in nature. Perhaps you could sit in the garden as my teacher does, in her favorite chair, or near the water or something green and flourishing.
- Quiet your mind and still your body.
Just follow your natural breath in and out.
- Open your awareness with gentle curiosity and wait to see what arises.
Having the intention to notice some small aspect of your experience or surroundings, tune in to what comes to you, rather than deliberately going looking for something to appreciate.
- Savor what arises.
Linger in the body sense of what you appreciate and be curious about how it affects your body. It could be your breath, the breeze around you, the sun on your face, an aspect of nature like the sea, the grass, a flower or tree. It could be something you smell, feel, hear, see or taste.
This practice of loving the small stuff fills you with happiness and over time helps you open to sharing more generously the gifts in your life with others.
May you be happy.
Woman with geranium photo available from Shutterstock