If you read my post yesterday about The One Meditation Every Toddler Mom Must Try, you know I’ve been bastardizing the Three Minute Breathing Space (3MBS) meditation for more than a decade. I have honestly believed that I was introduced to something called The Bell Meditation in the early 2000s—possibly by Jon Kabat-Zinn, though I’m going to have to dig out my old Kabat-Zinn guided meditation CDs to verify that. After practicing the “more evolved cousin” of Bell today, I will go on record now & swear that I must’ve been smokin’ somethin’! Of course, it’s possible that both are true. Read my Day 4 post for more on that.
Regardless, during the kids’ nap time today, I set out to do an experiment: I practiced both my possibly mis-remembered Bell Meditation (see Day 10) & the documented 3MBS back-to-back. One made me feel good about myself; the other (guess which one!) made me feel completely centered & level.
Could 3MBS have had the advantage since I practiced it second & was already feeling the benefits of mindfulness? Yes, that’s true. But what I think really happened was that I did a Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy practice that has documented benefits, & I felt the results.
Once again, I meditated in the mini-van. (I’m beginning to think I should re-name this blog MiniVanMindful.) I felt the same kind of relief I’d felt yesterday with The Bell Meditation: Yay, I can actually listen for my kids while I’m meditating! Then I settled in for 3MBS. I set a timer on my phone, using chimes for the alarm indicator. (I would’ve preferred a lightly dinging bell, but it wasn’t an option.) I assumed the posture I always assume when meditating with my hands in my lap, palms down. I did the self-check-in scan—an inverted BMT Index™ (see Day 8’s post)—& tripped myself up a bit with the order due to habit. I smiled & noticed this, too. Then I concentrated on my breathing. My cell phone kept vibrating & I had to work hard to focus on my breath over the sound. I started to notice myself noticing that, when I remembered this part of the exercise was for internal focus. So, I re-focused, choosing to concentrate on the tip of my nose & the heat & cool of my breathing. This worked wonders. Soon it was time to move on to awareness & I let myself start contemplating all those thoughts & sounds & sensations I’d blocked out during my breath work focus. I felt an expansion. It was a lightness of being, a one-ness, an acceptance. Serenity, if only for a moment ….
With probably about 20 or 30 seconds left to go, I began to feel a creeping impatience. This let me know that my Bell practice over the last couple of days was likely only a couple of minutes long at best. When the chimes sounded, I opened my eyes with relief (this time thinking, “It’s over!”) & recalled my novice practice in my 20s when I used to set a timer just to see if I could actually focus for 3 solid minutes, often doubting my ability to—as opposed to now blaming that unlikelihood on my external surroundings. How times have changed! And yet they have not. I couldn’t wait to get back to my conscious thoughts, my waking life, my buzzing cell phone.
Day 11 Mini-Mindfulness Tool: The simple art of the 3MBS,or 3-Minute Breathing Space Meditation. Read about it all over the web, but particularly here: http://franticworld.com/the-three-minute-breathing-space-meditation-is-now-free-to-download/.