The Cold & Flu Season

While it’s true that meditators get sick much less frequently than non-meditators, occasionally it happens that we fall victim to a nasty bug of one kind or another. I had that experience last week, my first bout with a cold in several years. When it hits, it completely knocks the wind out of us. Suddenly we don’t have the same faculties we had even a few hours earlier, & that can completely change our routine & our outlook. And the first thing we might sacrifice is our meditation practice… How can I possibly get it in when liquid is dripping out of my nose & down my face?
As with so many things, it’s when we’re placed in an uncomfortable situation- whether fighting a cold or visiting our in-laws- that we need our meditation practice the most. To make it work, we need to ADAPT. Learning to adapt is one of the greatest benefits of our practice. If your nose is dripping, go horizontal. If you’re sneezing, keep a box of tissue nearby so you’re ready when the moment comes. You may even find you’re falling asleep while meditating. It’s all good: you’re getting more rest when you fall asleep in meditation than out of it. Your body is taking advantage of your practice to get what it needs. Take it as it comes & enjoy the moment.
Just as we need to adapt our meditation habits, when we’re sick we may also need to adjust the length of our meditation. You may find that a 20-minute meditation isn’t in the cards, and if that’s the case, you should shorten the length of your meditation. When we’re under the weather, we can meditate for as long or as short as we want, and as many times a day as needed. That may mean a few 20-minute sessions or multiple 5-minute dives. See which works best for you & your individual condition. When the illness has passed, you can return to your regular 2x20 practice.
Being sick is very stressful on our system, & the best tool we have to combat stress is our meditation practice. So if you find yourself with the sniffles or full-blown sinus congestion, be easy, go with the flow, & stick with your meditation practice. Your body will thank you later.