By Mel Burdett

“The true practice of meditation is to sit as if you were drinking water when you are thirsty.”
– Shunryu Suzuki

Shunryu Suzuki brought Zen Meditation to the West. He must have known a thing or two about how to explain meditation to people whose culture has forgotten its benefits or rituals.

When I read this quote, its simplicity struck me.

Do you remember what it is like to drink water when you are really thirsty? My parents and I used to go on hiking holidays in Northern Italy every year. That was the time before everybody was taking a water bottle when walking to the corner store. Sometimes we would be very thirsty and the next hut was nowhere in sight. Hearing the sound of a natural spring was bliss. I remember how it felt when the cold water touched my hands and how I would bring the water I collected to my mouth – splashing my face and chest in the process.

I guess I still remember those moments so well because I was fully present. I drank thirstily and nothing else mattered.

This in itself is a form of mindful meditation – being completely present.

Formal meditation is nothing else – sitting and being present in the moment.

Mantras or focus on breathing are just means to become present, to help the mind to go back to the present as it inevitably wanders from time to time. The real practice is sitting and being aware of what is there – without judgment, expectation, or worry.

Practicing meditation helps us be less judgmental or worrisome, even when we are not meditating at that moment, we are wiring our brain toward seeing life as it is – instead of being constantly disappointed because life did not meet our expectations.

My invitation to you today:

  • Take a seat. Get comfortable. Make adjustments and get 10% more comfortable

  • Take three calm breaths. Let the exhale be longer than the inhale. 

  • Visualise yourself finding a natural spring while you are on a walk in nature and drinking thirstily. Truly notice how this may feel. 

  • Gently let go of that image and aim to apply the same presence to the act of sitting and noticing what is. When you notice judgment, worry, or expectation, imagine they float away after you notice them –  like water running down a stream. 

This is your time. 

I wish you a splendid week. Fully present.

With thirst for the moment.

Mel Burdett

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