October 13, 2010

Meditation for Idling at a Red Light. ~ Eve Eliot

Why is this moment not as good as the moment the light turns green again?

So many of us are suddenly in a hurry when the light turns red. If you really are late, of course you’re in a hurry. But what if you’re not late? What if it is a perfectly punctual day and you have rolled to a stop at that red light that seems to take forever to turn green and you get agitated because you have to sit there? Why is the rest of the day more important than this 60 or 90 or 120 seconds that needs to be spent stopped?

Why is this moment not as good as the moment the light turns green again? PAUSE. Why is this moment not as important as the moment we’ll find ourselves half a mile up the road?

Why is the next item on the  To Do list more important than this one? PAUSE. What is so attractive about the very next moment that we are willing to stampede over this one, trampling it? Consider. Take a breath. Feel the question drop into you. Let it find a place in you. Breathe. Let the question spread out and relax. PAUSE. What is it about the next moment that makes us believe so fervently that it will definitely be better than this one? Notice your breathing. And ask again…

This red light is several miles closer to your destination than the last one was, that may be true. But you are no happier stopped at this one than you were at the last one, even though you longed to be further ahead while you were waiting for the last one to change too… Why rush? What if this was the last red light of your whole life? You’d never want it to change. PAUSE.

As you continue to seek an answer, drop your awareness into your hips where they are pressing into the seat beneath you. Notice the sensation of sitting there. You can, if you choose, be content, right where you are, stopped at the light.

Feel your hips heavy on the seat, the exact places where your body is pressing down most noticeably. Soften your abdomen. Let your jaw become slack. Ask yourself if you wish to choose agitation or contentment. PAUSE. Notice one in breath, one out breath. PAUSE.  When you’re done with watching this breath cycle, the light may already have turned green. You may already be on your way again. Perhaps you have chosen contentment. And thanks to having had to wait for the light to change, you will have been fully alive in these moments, on this day.

You may already be looking forward to having to stop at the next red light. You can choose to be just where you are, or to resist where you are. Breathe and…choose.

Eve Eliot is a psychotherapist, yoga and meditation teacher. She’s authored five CDs and several books, including, Attention Shoppers! The Woman’s Guide to Enlightenment Through Shopping. She’s been interviewed over 60 times for TV, magazines, and newspapers including The Boston Globe and is a sought-after expert in the field of eating disorders.

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