Enjoying a Mental Shower

by on 01 February


I’m often reminded, in my daily practice, of how refreshing mindfulness can be. It’s like taking a mental shower.

 

The year after I started to meditate, I had such a “shower” while racing my sailboat on the Ottawa River. I’d had quite a busy week and, as I walked along the dock to my boat, Legacy, I felt kind of drained with a tired mind and body. However, since racing is my favourite sport, I wasn’t going to pass up a chance to cross the finish line first - or, more likely, somewhere in the top third of the pack.


There was a good wind that night, so our team worked hard to outpace and, hopefully, outwit our competitors. Afterwards, as I stepped off the dock to the Clubhouse lawn, I realized how totally clear and relaxed my mind felt. How could this be, since I’d just passed a very busy and physically demanding hour-and-a-half? Then it dawned on me. My mind had been totally focussed on just one thing – skippering Legacy as best I could. When we do something we love, why WOULDN’T we be totally absorbed? I contrasted that with my days at the office, where we’re very often multi-tasking with our mind flitting back and forth between various tasks. I was struck at how refreshing it is to joyfully focus on only one activity for a good while. Like taking a mental shower.


Later that year, I began meditating in my office at lunch hour. I was fortunate to have a closed office with one glass wall. I’d pull the curtain, close the door and turn off the light. Then, for 10 minutes, I’d just focus on the sensation of breathing. No thinking. Just feeling the in-breath and out-breath as my lungs expanded and contracted. Afterwards, my mind just felt so clear and relaxed. The low-level stress that I’d built up during the morning, which we all experience during a workday, dissolved during the meditation. I looked forward to these mini-meditations very much. And, afterwards, I was mentally refreshed and physically energized to tackle the afternoon’s tasks. (I should mention, with a chuckle, that one of my staff who sometimes used my phone when I was out during the lunch-hour stumbled upon me one day in the dark meditating in my chair. I don’t know who was more surprised!)


These experiences remind me of a story I read in Mindful magazine about a current member of the U.S. Supreme Court who meditates. He often hears cases where he has to focus for hours on end to the presentation of argument. To prepare himself, of course, he reads all the briefs. But before hearing argument in court, he meditates in his office for up to 30 minutes. It enables him to totally clear his mind so that he’s able to focus intently on the verbal presentations. A mental shower for the judge to clear away any distracting thoughts.


It’s a wonderful tool to have at one’s disposal, wherever we might be. Like raindrops on the mind.

 

Peter Black
Instructor: meditation and mindfulness

1 comment

  • Roman Rijos

    This is nicely expressed! .|

    Roman Rijos Wednesday, 17 May 2017 04:27

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