Here are two meditations to start you in your practice, an Introductory Meditation and Circum-Respiration: Breathing in a Circle to Find Jizo (Breathe in a Circle, Let the Circle enclose you in Peace).
Be patient and kind to yourself, as you might find meditation challenging at first. For more meditations and thoughts on meditation, visit my Jizo and Chibi Blog and look for the Meditations Category.
…and if you are a parent, a nanny, or a caregiver to children, scroll down further for two practices of mindfulness with children…
Introductory Meditation for meeting Jizo & Chibi
I hope this serves as a safe and quiet place to experience Jizo and Chibi…by taking a moment to slow down and try stillness. Begin by noticing your breath. Just notice the in and out of it, without regulating it, it knows when to breathe in — and then out — without control. Quieting your mind is not our goal here. Just noticing the in and out of our breath is all there is.
For now, while reading this page, try to let go of any notion of what meditation should be. See your surroundings. Feel your body. Note the sensation of the air on your skin. Notice sounds outside of yourself, notice your inner chatter …without judgement. If you are judging, just notice it, hold it in awareness and see how it does not stay forever but melts with your gentle attention.
Take a deep breath in and hold it for a moment and then sip in a little more breath…Fill your lungs as full as you can… and smile as you breathe out slowly; slowly…If you have the time, take a few more deep and cleansing breaths. Then allow your breath to return to is naturally regulated rhythm.
If you find that you can’t be still – or don’t want to be still then smile and give kind attention to your busy mind. Notice it; be curious. Do not hate it. Do not try to love or accept it. Then, listen to the sounds, outside. Listen to yourself, inside.
Sense a quiet moment, if it comes, maybe in between breaths. If not, don’t worry. There is no perfect path, there is only trying with compassion; without expectations. Perhaps as you practice breathing you could wonder about Jizo, an enlightened teacher, a bodhisattva, who dedicated all of eternity to helping those who suffer. …and take another deep breath, smiling as you exhale out as much breath as you can. If you are still antsy, notice where you are not anxious and gently try and move some of your focus to where you feel more grounded.
You might also be in touch with the Chibi inside you …as you continue breathing deeply and evenly. Consider the little people, or animals, you love …and breathe in at an even pace. Throughout your day, try to remember to smile as you exhale.
…and if you cannot slow down now as you visit us then feel free to rush through our pages as fast as you need to.
Circum-Respiration: Breathing in a Circle to Find Jizo
In this meditation, you will learn to practice circum-respiration, breathing in a circle. While this may be just a breathing practice, it is enhanced immeasurably if you focus your heart on Jizo Bodhisattva, the Buddhist protector, holding a safe place within you for Chibi, the little one; your inner child.
Breathe in a circle
Know that you are held safely in this moment; loved within this sacred circle held by Jizo, just as your most vulnerable self is safe and warm and loved within the circle of your breath.
Sit comfortably. Soften your gaze. Breathe naturally without trying to control your breath. Begin to paint a circle with two fingers, see the brushstroke moving softly and feel your breath join the circle. Gradually, bring your breath into the shape of the circle, rounding the top and bottom of the breath. When you feel your eyes wanting to close, close them with a smile. Let your breathing return to normal.
Open your eyes to a soft gaze and paint the circle, again and again, clockwise. See the brushstroke softly painting and feel your breath join the circle. Let your eyes follow the circle. No strain, no stress. Switch to your inner eyes, if you like. Let your breath gently keep pace with your eyes. Feel your breath rise and curve as you inhale, and lower and curve as you exhale, easily moving around the circle. Keep circling gently, no stops, no catches, just slow simple circles.
Let the circle enclose you in peace
After maybe ten breaths in each direction, switch back and forth, clockwise and counterclockwise, as feels right to you. Let the feelings of safety, warmth, and love flow over you. When thoughts arise, do not judge them, just let them be as you focus back on the breath, on the circle you are painting. Let the circle enclose you in calm, soothing, safety and peace.
Whenever you wish, lie down and imagine you are lying within the robes of Jizo, safe and protected. …and know that you are going to get a good nights’ sleep tonight.
Mindful Mommy, Mindful Dad
Here are a couple of sweet, easy exercises to bring mindfulness into parenting with your child engaged in the process. Do them often and imperfectly. Try them for a minute, two minutes, with low expectations as little people don’t have the same mature brain as we are supposed to have.
Sit crossed legged, knee to knee with your child. The game is mindful gazing and breathing.
Read this aloud the first few times, till you learn how to play.
“Open your eyes and look at me when you want to
And close your eyes when you feel like it.
If my eyes are open, just look into my eyes while I look into yours
and let’s breathe together.
We can close our eyes whenever we feel like it, we don’t have to do it at the same time.
“We can gaze and we can close our eyes any time, just no talking
As we breathe together.
I breathe in, you breathe in
Breathe in a way that is natural for you
You don’t have to breathe the same as I do.
We will talk with our eyes…
Let’s do this for a few minutes and see how we like it.”
Mindful Walking with my Parent
My parent walks behind me
I walk in front
I feel my feet on the floor, on the earth.
We go heel, bend the foot, push off with our toes
Pick up our other foot and swing it forward…
Place our foot, heel first, bend our foot, push off with our toes
As we swing our other foot
We feel the air around our skin
We see the light and shadows
I see you in front of me
You hear my footsteps behind you
We are in walking meditation.
We can stop for a moment and close our eyes
and listen to our world
and then we can walk a little more. Heel first…
Feeling the air more, listening for sounds
Always aware of our gentle footsteps,
Our toes giving the world a kiss with every step
We live in our bodies
We take good care of our bodies
We live in our world
We take good care of our world
We love each other
We take good care of each other…with respect and kind words
Trying to understand
And be understood
We take another step
We take another step.
Then, we turn around and go the other way!
More noticing the air
The sound of our footsteps
The light and the shadows
We notice the thoughts that run around our minds
We watch our thoughts and smile at them
Like the light and shadow, we do not judge them, we just notice
Then, we turn the other way
And walk some more.