Begin with 1%

Just 1%.

1% of anything is not too much, is it? Well, not maybe all of the time, like how much I forget what people tell me. It’s probably more but I don’t remember.

1% of anything is not very much, is it? How much of a day is 1%?

  I did the math longhand. 1440 minutes in a day. One hundredth of 1440 equals 14.4 minutes.

Well, it is figured to be 14 minutes. (I now know why I learned long division in school all those years ago).

eMindful (https://www.emindful.com/ ) worked this out for their members:

14 minutes

OK. Let us make a list of all sorts of things you can do in 14 minutes, according to my schedule (your mileage may vary):

wash the kitchen floor

water the plants in the greenhouse make a shopping list

read a chapter of my current book, Annie Proulx’s Barkskins bathroom sink and shower tidy up

iron 4 articles of clothing shop at the local supermarket shine a pair of shoes

plant 3 pots of basil

pick sycamore seedlings out of the driveway

deadhead front garden daffodils

do a Facetime with my daughter and granddaughter take a walk

detour through Denburn Woods prepare an easy meal for 2

make a rhubarb smoothie from garden to glass Make 3/4 telephone calls to arrange appointments vacuum living room carpet

eat a meal

sew 2 buttons on

RIDE A WAVERiding a wave

walk in the woods listen to a symphony

research a topic for my blog

get a loaf of bread started in the breadmaker go out the drive to the fishmonger

have a nice cup of tea in the garden research blog fact

and many, many more little chores around the place.

I am sure you can add plenty others. Please put some ideas in the comment box below to share.

It such a small amount of time to devote 14 minutes to Mindfulness meditation every day. It seems so little, but it easily gets over the popular question of ‘How long should I meditate?’ I would say, for all meditators, that it is not how long you meditate but the discipline and quality of your precious time spent. Even just 14 minutes…. Then congratulate yourself for doing it.

Sara Lazar from Harvard, has studied the brain to see what happens when meditating:

She is famous for detailing how the brain actually grows gray matter when people meditate. Other studies have shown that meditation improves IQ, and lessens depression. In addition to these benefits, meditation also:

  • Reduces alcohol and substance consumption, blood pressure goes down,

  • Anxiety, depressive symptoms, and relapses occur less frequently

  • Helps patients suffering from various kinds of chronic pain

  • Lowers the incidence of stress

  • Aids cancer patients

Most people think they have to meditate for years before they start seeing any of these improvements, but a study conducted by Chiesa, Calati, and Serretti shows that after just eight weeks of meditation, people start to experience improved cognitive functioning.

(Chiesa, 2009),(Coelho, Canter, & Ernst, 2007; Kim et al., 2009),(Chiesa & Serretti),(Ledesma & Kumano, 2009) https://scholar.harvard.edu/sara_lazar/home

The next challenge for most of you starting on the meditation journey is finding the time in your frantic day to pull out of the fast lane, no, actually pull off the road entirely, to reset your body and go back again into the fray.

(They say that people who excuse themselves from meditating because they simply don’t have time are the ones who need it the most. Remember how little 14 minutes is? It is a small but meaningful gift to yourself. It pays back handsomely in how you deal with life’s slings and arrows.)

So when do you practice during the day? In my experience, it is best to have a set time during the day. If I think I will do it sometime today, the day looks endless and finding time will be easy. But the day will slip by and I won’t find the time.

It is best to pick a time and stick to it. Mine is first thing in the morning at 6 am. Not only is it the most beautiful time of day, it is most peaceful and fresh (I live a few steps from the sea).

You can fix a daily time for 14 minutes (or longer any time of day). Some watches can be set to vibrate at a particular time. Or an outside reminder: we have siren sounding off at 1 pm. Or fit it in after some chore you do regularly. Keep topped up throughout the day with informal Mindfulness activities. Together mindfulness and meditation can blend to weave a rich tapestry that warms and comforts you and protects you at all times.

Please tell me what you think about whether 1% is enough for you? I will answer everyone.

Tracy Fryer