The moon has been splendid these past few days: a wonderful moment for night owls, lovers, and others who thrive in the late hours. But what about those who have a hectic job, a sick child, a term paper or business plan to finish, and a big presentation looming on the horizon? Or all of the above?! “Letting go” as preached by the Zen masters sounds easy, but it is not. It is actually a skill of mindfulness, and you can get better at it if you practice.
As Monique Beck, a fellow student of mine in the SPARK program at Saint Mary’s College, and someone whose drive I admire, recently asked on LinkedIn: “Drive is great, but when you have too much, it can be detrimental to your health! What can you change today, so that your tomorrow doesn’t have to suffer?”
Going to bed earlier might help, unless your mind is still on overdrive. But what else is there?
Since May 2017, I have been following a routine of evening meditation that puts an end to all that internal chit-chat. I ensure that the bedroom is dark and cool, and that my bedclothes are loose and comfortable. Then, right before placing my head on the pillow, I turn on one of the guided audio meditations provided for free by the University of California San Diego Center for Mindfulness. (You can download it onto your phone.) The calm voice guides you to listen to your breath, and to listen to how you are breathing in and breathing out. It gently nudges you to return to the breath, whenever your thoughts go elsewhere. I often fall asleep before it’s over.
Give it a try tonight. You deserve a break from this harrowing world.