Yesterday I went to Sunday Assembly for the first time. It’s a ‘godless church’ that meets every two weeks in Conway Hall, Holborn, to celebrate life. It has all the elements of a traditional church service: songs, a sermon, a moment of quiet reflection, a chance to meet people from your community, tea and cake, but with the God bits taken out. When we sang Sit Down by James they even changed the lyric to ‘hope that Bob exists’. It made me chuckle.
I think it’s a great concept and it was really good fun. There are so many benefits of meeting together as a congregation – why should they only be available to religious types? And a lot of people seem to agree – by the end of the month they’ll be 100 assemblies in 15 countries.
Yesterday’s sermon was on mindfulness. Dr Itai Ivtzan gave a highly energetic and enthusiastic presentation, that was in marked contrast to many of the exponents I’ve come across who seem to take everything a bit too seriously.
One of the things that stuck in my mind was his analogy of ‘vitamin M’. Imagine there was a vitamin pill you could take, that would make you less stressed, better able to focus, more empathic, happier, reduce your desire to drink and eat too much, better able to connect with people and be more self-aware. And imagine if that pill was free. Why would you not take the pill?!
That is was we have available to us with mindfulness, and it need only take ten minutes of your day. And yet so many people know and have felt the benefits and don’t still don’t practice it. ‘Life’ gets in the way. Being ‘too busy’ gets in the way. It’s such an easy thing to put off because it never feels like the most urgent thing for you to do.
The only thing I’ve found that works is committing to making it part of my daily routine. I do it straight after I’ve had a shower, everyday, for twenty minutes. I started off doing ten, and felt some resistance to setting my alarm ten minutes earlier, but realized going to bed ten or fifteen minutes earlier really isn’t a big deal. The more I felt the benefits of doing it, the more committed I was to carrying on. Increasing it to fifteen and then twenty minutes was something I was happy do.
And it’s made such a big difference to me. I can honestly say that this is the happiest I’ve been in my life. I appreciate things so much more. I have much more self-awareness and much less tension in my body. I taste food more fully, relate to people more easily, dance more freely, sing more joyfully and have a much clearer idea of what I want to do with my life.
So, ask yourself, what would it take for you to ‘sit down’ for ten minutes everyday and meditate? It could be the most significant habit you ever make.