Thursday, January 24, 2008

Ten Zen Seconds

One of the books I got for Christmas was Ten Zen Seconds. I finished this book last night and I LOVED it. I really recommend it. Unlike other self-help type books, it really only has one main suggestion/idea and it is super simple to immediately implement. The purpose of the technique being to "center" and to become mindful. The author suggests 12 short phrases (or, "incantations" as they are referred to on the cover). The technique is to take a 10 second long breath--5 in, 5 out and to use the breath as a "container" for a specific thought. You think the first half of the phrase on the in breath and the second half on the out breath. An example:

(I am) (open to joy)


(I embrace) (this moment)

The one I've been using a lot is (I expect) (nothing). I guess it sounds pretty sad in way when you read it typed out, but it very useful to me, because as Wayne Dyer would say "most suffering is the result of your attachment to how things should be" and this is very true for me. I'm always making little plans and then they get derailed and what is upsetting to me is really just because I planned it, I SHOULD be doing xyz. If I wasn't attached to how it should be, or expecting a particular result, I wouldn't end up disappointed or distressed or annoyed or whatever!

I started reading the book shortly after I got it and tried the technique that same day and have been using it in some form ever since. Really helpful and easy. Why a whole book for one technique? Because the book explores each of the 12 phrases on its own and how it can be applied, putting six phrases together for a "Centering Sequence," modifying the phrases, creating your own, etc. There are a lot of "testimonials" from people explaining how they used one phrase or another in their lives. I find almost all 12 to be very useful and I can remember almost all of them at any one time.

So, my enthusiastic recommendation of the month is Ten Zen Seconds. I'm a fan. As I read it I thought, this book is giving me a skill that I will use for the rest of my life. :) It is essentially a tiny meditation technique that is MUCH more readily incorporated into one's daily life (especially a life that includes small children) than traditional, dedicated, more elaborate meditation techniques (which would be great and beneficial to all of course, but very easy to fall off of the wagon from and/or difficult to begin incorporating in the first place!).


Sheridan said...

Ooo, sounds great! I just added to my wish list and I will try it today during the crazy homework hour.
Have you ever read Mommy Mantras by Bethany E. Casarjian and Diane H. Dillon? Somewhat same idea... I have some gems from there, like "Embrace the Goat"

Molly said...

I haven't ever heard of that one! I will check it out!