A Chicago State of Mind
The best thing about living in Chicago is the energy. It’s not fighting the hustle and bustle but enjoying being in the middle of it. I benefit very much from having the low hum of Windy City humanity buzzing in my ear. However, I firmly believe I can handle that burden because of my morning meditation routine. Every morning, before most people have even hit the snooze button, I face east, begin meditating and greet the sun.
Meditating in the morning is ideal because at 5 a.m. my day is clean. Not too long after I roll up my yoga mat, businesswomen begin sipping coffee, children grab their lunch boxes before heading out the door and the day’s first tourists start photographing Chicago attractions. When I give myself a chance to meditate, I prepare myself for the day. I never wake in a frenzy, being thrown into something. I rise up and greet my day, I accept it. I am in control of my morning.
My practice is a patchwork at best. As an avid pirate of free yoga classes, YouTube meditation videos and Native American jewelry, sometimes I fear the practice I’ve constructed resembles a failed actress trying to meditate for B roll, but it works for me. There is no religious aspect tied to my meditations. I do not ask for anything. I do not bend myself into shapes or prick my finger over herbs and crystals. I sit the way I was taught in a meditation class a few years ago: straight with open palms on my knees. My eyes rest closed and I try to look through my heart. I breathe deeply.
Most mornings I sing or chant a song I learned at summer camp when I was younger. They told us it was a Native American song to greet the sun. I just think it sounds pretty and appropriate. When I meditate I try to think about nothing. When that doesn’t work I think about breathing. When that doesn’t work I think about tea or rivers or how my back used to ache but so much straight-up sitting has made me stronger.
When I explain my practice it so often sounds futile. There isn’t really a tangible goal. I’m not trying to reach enlightenment, enhance my flexibility for develop my physic healing. By each morning, making the choice to sit with myself and simply be I have control over the direction of my day. So many people experience their first moments of the day on a crowded city bus or amidst honking rush hour traffic. This can easily get you in a foul mood or even “ruin your day.” When I’m on my way to work my day already has a clear direction and it would take a lot to disrupt it. I’m protecting myself.
Chicago is a wonderful place to live and the life of a big city is electrifying. Meditating is perfect for bringing more peace into your life. In my opinion meditating in the morning, before mixing with the energy of so many, not only helps me to appreciate the city more but know myself better and my place in the family of things.