Image via WikipediaThis morning I was feeling very centered after my asana practice and decided to sit for a few minutes of meditation. My husband, who normally sleeps through my sun salutations even though my mat is right at the foot of the bed, was awake this morning and playing a game on his phone. He had the sound off, so all I had to deal with was the click of the keys. The dogs knew he was awake and joined him on the bed. So far there was nothing that I couldn't tune out for a short time, so I settled into easy pose, rested my hands on my knees and closed my eyes...
As I brought my awareness to my breath, I suddenly became aware of a new sensation - cold tongue on my hand. One of our dogs had gotten off the bed and decided my upturned palm was tasty. I caught myself before I shooed her away. Couldn't I practice mindfulness by focusing on the sensation of being licked?
I allowed the hand wash to continue, keeping my awareness on the feeling of dog tongue. I noticed it was rough and dry this morning. I felt the movement as it curled around fingers or flattened against my palm. I was aware of my hand as the object of the licking.
After awhile, she got bored and curled up on the floor in her own meditative style. (Eyes closed, breathing regular, but always mindful of the smallest sound that might indicate food is about to be put in her bowl.) I returned my focus to my breath for a few more minutes before starting my day.
If you've never started a meditative practice because you can't find ten minutes of peace and quiet in your day, ask yourself if absolute peace and quiet is really necessary. Unless you move to an ashram, chances are life will always be happening around your meditation. Learning to be calm and still in the daily chaos can be more beneficial than needing to escape to a quiet, dark room when life starts to get crazy.
Start now. Close your eyes and focus on your breath for one minute. Don't try to shut out the sounds, the thoughts, the feelings. Notice them, acknowledge that life is happening, then bring your attention back to your breath. Try again tomorrow, and the day after that. See where your meditation practice takes you.