With the coming of each new year, it is heralded around the land by scribes in the press and much concerned friends, that it’s time to make our annual pilgrimage to the bottomless well of New Year’s resolutions. That’s why we have the month of January, named after Janus, the god of new beginnings.
Lose weight? Travel more? Quit smoking? Get a six pack? Stop eating fast food? Stop judging people? Stop farting? Learn a foreign language? Budget and save more? Stop procrastinating? Stop something that rhymes with procrastinating?
Those self improvement “to do’s” we make may look motivating as post-its stuck all over our bathroom mirror but by mid month, they and our post-its have usually exceeded their half-life and fallen back to earth.
And think about it, if all these resolutions we set for ourselves were actually achieved, imagine the sheer pandemonium it would create. Endless queues outside of gyms, one size clothing for all, a planet devoid of miserable bastards, and the death of lifestyle blogs to tell us what to do. Ouch! That last one hurt.
However, the reality is that resolutions roll on and resurface every December with a vengeance and there’s nothing I can do about it.
Or is there?
Well, if there was one thing that I could suggest you start doing, and it really doesn’t take up much time, is to start incorporating a small amount of meditation in your mornings before you start your day.
[Author immediately glances sideways at readers heading towards the exit] No, no, come back!
This is not some ‘new age’ hippie or religious stuff I’m pushing here. It’s actually quiet simple and doesn’t require you to join a buddhist monastery.
The 10 minute “Breath Counting” Meditation
This is a great 10 minute morning meditation devised by an American medico, Dr Andrew Weil. He’s been an expert in this area for years so if you feel a little suspicious with a lawyer like myself prescribing meditation, trust Andrew.
It’s a simple technique much used in Zen practice. After waking, do what you have to do in the bathroom, wash your face and stay in your loose fitting PJs.
Then Andrew suggests you:
Sit in a comfortable position with the spine straight and head inclined slightly forward. (A chair is fine, you don’t have to be cross legged on the floor.)
Gently close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Then let the breath come naturally without trying to influence it.
Ideally it will be quiet and slow, but depth and rhythm may vary.
To begin the exercise, count “one” to yourself as you exhale.
The next time you exhale, count “two,” and so on up to “five.”
Then begin a new cycle, counting “one” on the next exhalation.
Never count higher than “five,” and count only when you exhale.
You will know your attention has wandered when you find yourself up to “eight,” “12,” even “19.”
If you start experiencing that annoying mind chatter, as we all do, just refocus on the breath and the counting.
Try to do 10 minutes of this form of meditation in the morning before your ‘other day’ begins.
Don’t waste time convincing yourself that it can’t apply to a busy dynamo like yourself.
For heaven’s sake… Just do it.
I hope we have an understanding? Good, because in the words of the great Cavett Robert:
“Character is the ability to carry out a good resolution long after the excitement of the moment has passed.”
And what I surely want for you in the New Year is not a resolutions list that is going to be unachievable and end up in the bin, but instead, a little meditation that will lead to you – being happier, having less anxiety, being more creative, having lower blood pressure and boosting your learning ability.
Have a great New Year and thanks for supporting The Legal Eagle in 2017!