Last summer while teaching at The Mindful Unplug at our Feathered Pipe Ranch retreat in Montana, someone asked the perennial question, “which is the best technique for meditation?" The classic answer is, “it’s the one you will use."
The answer I actually gave was, "the best meditation technique is with your cat!” Whenever I lie down, I inevitably end up with a cat lying on my chest, gazing softly and lovingly into my eyes. At this point, I can't help but return the gaze and my mind clears of everything except my present connection with this magnificent creature. My body stays naturally still, because I don't want to disturb our cozy posture. And internally, we both create a feeling of love and caring.
Cats are masters of meditation and can teach us everything we really need to know about it. By nature, all felines are predators. They require huge bursts of energy to capture their prey. And because they have to preserve their energy for these huge bursts, they require much time for restoration and nourishment, sleeping up to 16 hours a day. If you have a cat, you may often notice her in a resting, kind of dazed state. Not asleep, but almost. Her eyes half-open and completely still, focused, and relaxed. The cat has just enough awareness to respond to danger if alerted, while still getting the benefits of relaxation. The perfect meditation. I get it. Not everyone is a cat person. Dogs are cool too, though you may have to teach them how to sit still and meditate with you.
I also get that not everyone is an animal person. In this case, try meditating with another human. In the same way that a yawn is contagious, simply meditating with another person can be all you need to get started. It doesn’t really matter who or what is your inspiration – the same principal applies – choose your source of quiet. Put down the phone and all the other distractions. Allow yourself to get lost in the sweet presence of stillness and ease, and it will call you back again and again and again. This is meditation, the natural and easy way.