Just A MinuteSarah Cavanagh
Just A Minute
Last week at school, in maths, I was working with a group of children to get a sense of how long one minute lasts. They took turns to carry out different activities and see how far they could get in one minute. How many times can you write your name in one minute,? How many pegs can you put in a peg board in one minute? How many times can you stand up and sit down in one minute? One minute can feel like a long time when you are so focussed and it’s surprising how much we can learn from or be affected by something that lasts just one minute.
I say this because my work at school reminded me of the Brahma Kumaris meditation initiative Just-A-Minute. Many of you who visit this Inspired Stillness site may already be familiar with J-A-M. If so, go to the site now and remind yourself of the gorgeous, varied and fruitful ways to spend one minute! If you have never heard of the Just A Minute meditations, then read on.
Much of the work that Brahma Kumaris does with the public takes the form of regular courses, workshops, talks and retreats. Wonderful opportunities to learn and sustain the practise of meditation and to make deeper explorations into understanding the human soul, God, karma, time or just to find creative ways to relax and know yourself better.
Over the years the refrain heard more than any other is “it’s all very well learning this here [on the course/workshop/retreat] but when I am at home I just don’t have time to practise!”.
In response, Just A Minute was created. It’s an iniative offering ready-made one minute meditations and tips on how and when you might do these meditations. A website, books, cds and other resources are also available, as well as feedback from different people who have tried it. They show how taking one minute to change your thought focus, every now and again throughout the day, is definitely enough to experience a change of energy or to put something back in perspective, to let go of an anxious thought or to bring about some clarity to make a decision.
For me, the fruitfulness of using one minute, several times a day, to think of lovely things, has come to have the same feel as the old adage “look after the penny and the pounds will look after themselves”. Do you know this old saying? The idea that if I just concentrate on saving pennies, without trying very hard at all, over time, the pile will build up and one day I will go to the penny jar and there will be several pounds worth in it.
It’s the same with one minute of time. The more I think of lovely things, or the more I allow myself to let go of the tension in my feelings, or prompt myself to breathe deeply where otherwise I would not, when I choose to not make a mountain out of a molehill, or to see the bigger, kinder picture instead of getting stuck in the small, meanness of something … all of these changes of heart eventually add up.
Not only does the immediate minute that I change my thoughts have a soothing effect on me, but over time I am layering a lighter, easier vibration in my mind, body and soul. Over time, if I keep this going, I will have accumulated enough of an easier vibration that my default choices become kinder, less tense, spacious, soothing. I, and those around me, are the richer for this.
You can listen to the JAM CDs at home or copy them over to your phone or ipod. Listen to the meditations and type them up. Read them back to yourself in your own voice, slowly, confidently, soothingly. When you read inspiring ideas out loud, in your own voice, you begin to own them more. There is more effectiveness, more power, in the way they influence you. You are speaking beautiful things to yourself. Such benevolence!
Here are a few. Don’t worry too much if they take more or less than a minute to practise. Try reading each one slowly, pausing at the dots, breathing deeply, enjoying the resonance of the words. Be fascinated by the fact that people have done this ancient, once esoteric, practise of talking to themselves in similar ways for hundreds of years.
And now, sitting in the comfort of your own home or office, while the kettle is boiling, or waiting for the meeting to start at work, while walking the dog, tidying the house, hanging up the washing, soothing your child … taking just a minute to meditate is something that you can do too.
… taking just a minute I sit comfortably .. quiet and still … in the quietness I watch my mind …. I feel my senses …. gently I speak to them … for a moment … stop .. just stop …. relax and be calm .. become free of hearing … seeing … doing … just stop ……….. now I am in peace … I am serence … I am quiet ….
…. taking just a minute ….. quietly I remember my original goodness … .my original identity … going deeper inside to that sacred point of self awareness … I relink with my spiritual self … I remember … I know who I am …. this spiritual recognition empowers me with dignity and assurance … I rediscover esteem, uniqueness and purpose … now from this point of reference … I can interact … with empathy and enthusiasm ….