Coming Home Meditation

When you come home, you are crossing the threshold from your workday, public life to your private sanctuary. As you enter your personal world, you can also come home to yourself and your body.

Often we bring the unfinished business and tensions from work or the outer world into our home. This can be bad for your relationships because if you come home carrying tension in your body and don’t take time to release it, you are apt to “kick the cat” – take it out on someone else, or on yourself. So it can be useful to take some time to wash the day out of your hair.
The Coming Home Body Scan is a method of quickly releasing tension and fatigue, so that your evening, your after-work period, will be a happier, more relaxed experience. Take time to feel through all the movements from the day that are wiggling around in your nervous system, give them a chance to be sensed and released.

As you get used to this process, you will be able to speed it up or slow it down to fit your schedule. You may even find you can start it before you walk in the door. You might observe revealing sensations as you get near your house or apartment. Stop, breathe, and give thanks. Cleanse yourself before you enter the sanctuary of your home.

This meditation can feel natural, as easy and unformed as taking a brief power nap. Or it can seem as intricate as listening to a band or orchestra. The body has many parts; you are a composite of many interrelated, highly cooperative organs, cells and joints. When you listen to an area of the body as it vibrates with fatigue, you may hear a kind of music.

Coming Home Practice

For the first minute, just let yourself be. Give yourself time to settle in and make yourself comfortable. Whether you are lying down or sitting, begin to release your bodyweight to gravity.
Now make yourself available for whatever is calling your attention. You will probably have thoughts, images, and remembered conversations from the day floating through your mind. Allow this process, because it is your mind attempting to “clear its desk.”

Breathe out with a whoosh or a sigh three times. This is often called a Cleansing Breath, because it seems to wash stress out of the system. You can continue doing as long as you like.
As you quiet down, bring your attention into your body sensations. You might discover all sorts of tingling, pressures, sensations of fatigue, delicious restfulness, and so on. Approach this casually, with a sense of curiosity. This realm of sensing is as rich in its own way as music is to hearing, and good food is to the sense of taste.

As you begin to relax, you may become aware of particular sensations, calling you – aches, pains, tensions – that you did not have time to feel during your last action phase, the phase of working and commuting. Just let yourself be called to whatever is there.

Now scan your body head to toe. Start by simply becoming aware of your head. Feel around the crown of your head, your scalp, the back of your skull. Notice the sense of your head resting on the floor, or on top of your spine if you’re sitting. Your head may feel heavy or light.

Bring awareness to your forehead. Sense the curve of your brow, its shape, the skin. Feel any sensations around your eyes, behind your eyelids. As you pay attention, any sense of tension will tend to soften and release.

Now feel your nose and your cheeks. Become aware of your mouth, your lips, your tongue. If your jaw seems tight, you can slightly part your teeth. Sense your whole face.
Whenever you are ready, proceed on, scanning downward from the top of your head toward your toes.

Notice the sensations in your throat and neck, which have been involved in speaking and holding up your head.

Bring awareness to your shoulders, your arms, and your hands. If you like, make a tiny, almost imperceptible shrugging motion with the shoulders, and notice how that subtly moves your arms and hands. Enjoy this marvelous interconnectedness.

Now rest your awareness in the area of your chest, your breasts, your heart, and feel the breath flowing within you. What sensations do you have in your chest? Warmth, pressure, tugging sensations, vibration?

In any of these areas, you may be called to pause and go deeper. Some sensation or feeling will want attention. If there is pleasure, bask in that feeling. If there is tightness, irritation, aching, or fatigue, allow that place to receive whatever attention it needs. You will often get a sense that some part wants warmth, or coolness. It may crave space, or want to be snuggly held. Invite that place to soften, spread out, melt, whatever it needs. In your imagination, give that part exactly what it requests.

Stay there for as long as it takes for your awareness to soothe that area. You may not get to the rest of your body. That’s okay. Just keep showing up for yourself.

If you are ready to, proceed on to your belly. Be with the motion of the breath in your diaphragm. Notice whatever sensations are inside your belly and in your lower back. Just be aware of any tightness or discomfort and also the pleasurable sensations of becoming more relaxed.

Let your awareness come into your pelvis, your hips, and your buttocks. Give over to the sensation of gravity pulling you down into the Earth.

Now become aware of your thighs, your knees, your calves, your ankles, your feet and toes. Imagine or feel the flow of energy from your pelvis all the way down your legs. Notice if your right side feels any different from your left.

Be with any place in your lower body that calls your attention. Dwell with whatever sensations are there.

Now gently scan through your whole body. For the space of a few breaths, simply let your attention meander wherever in your body it wants to go. All these sensations, tingles, and feelings are how life is touching you right now.

Continuing to sense your whole body, continuing to bring loving attention to any place that’s asking for more awareness…
You can say to yourself: I give over completely to the regenerative power of conscious rest. I release the tensions of the day and am prepared to love and enjoy.
At some point, you will know that the process is complete for the time being. So when you are ready, take a few breaths, stretch gently and yawn. Slowly bring movement back into your body.

Then get up to enjoy the rest of your day or evening.

from Meditation 24-7 by Lorin Roche and Camille Maurine
to listen to Lorin reading this, visit our bookstore here.