Reality is always kinder than the story we are believing about it.
– Byron Katie
Happy Saturday readers! Today I’m pleased to bring you a guest post from Lily, author of the consciousness blog the art of joyful embodiment.Lily is a Melbourne based consciousness facilitator. She utilises the tools, techniques and bodywork processes of Access Consciousness to invite people to a place of greater ease, peace, joy and possibility with their lives and with their bodies.
Cogitations and Ruminations on Meditation:
I have to confess that meditation is not one of my strong points. In fact, my first meditation teacher felt it necessary to inform me that my energy field was disruptive and was adversely affecting the other students. It had never occurred to me that I could be so energetically potent in such an energetically painful way. Ouch! Needless to say, I didn’t return to that class, but with the sting of my teacher’s nettling declaration reverberating throughout my being, I decided to enrol in a beginner class in Buddhist meditation. I couldn’t possibly allow her, or my monkey mind, to get the better of me!
I discovered I had a great affinity for Buddhism. It was like a familiar friend. I sat and listened attentively, and I diligently applied the teachings and meditations to my daily routine. Still, I couldn’t seem to extend the sense of peace that I experienced in class to the rest of my life. What was it about this meditation stuff that was so elusive? Why couldn’t I seem to break through this mental stronghold, despite my most sincere efforts? Was I doomed to be the proverbial energetic pain that my previous teacher had identified me as?
The responses to these questions came to me, like a bolt of lightning, several years later, as I was sitting in a workshop*. What was presented to me absolutely rocked the foundations of my universe. “What if 98% of your thoughts, feelings and emotions don’t belong to you? What if you are more psychic and aware than you think you are? What if the endless chatter going on in your head doesn’t belong to you? What if what is actually occurring is that you are picking up, like a psychic radar, all the mind-chatter going on in everyone else’s heads? What if meditation doesn’t work for you because you are not acknowledging that the mind-chatter isn’t yours in the first place?” O.M.G., what a revelation of epic proportions!
And the rocking my universe thing continued… “So what if you could ask, for three days straight, ‘Who does this belong to?’ And if it doesn’t belong to you, ‘Return to sender with consciousness attached’? What if in applying this one tool, you could become a walking, talking meditation?” Well I tried this for three days, whilst working in one the busiest shopping malls in the shopping capital of Australia. It was an intense three days, but holy canolli, did that change things! The level of peace that this exercise gave me was mind-blowing. My internal dialogue went something like ‘Wow, maybe I’m not a freak anomaly, with ten heads, after all? Maybe I really am just physic and aware? What the? Why didn’t anyone tell me this before?!!!
I now employ this one question, on a daily basis: “Who does this belong to?” The peace and silence that was so elusive is now a reality for me: not a 24/7 presence but increasing so, with more practice. I forget and lapse into theatrical displays of self-pity or anger or despair or jealousy or something else, which can be fun for a while, and I eventually revert back to the question, “Who does this belong to?” As astounding as it may seem, 98% of the crap that I entertain really isn’t mine. Peace and silence again.
So, I’m wondering if this applies to you too? If you can’t seem to meditate or find that place of silence in your mind, is it because you are extremely psychic and aware? What if creating peace of mind really could begin with a simple question: “Who does this belong to?” Would you be willing to indulge yourself this weird and wacky concept, just for three days?
On one final note, thank you to my meditation teacher who precipitated a journey that eventually brought me back to me. How does it get any better than that?
*Access Consciousness: Founder, Gary Douglas.
How many of us fill our days with busyness, running around from distraction to distraction, rarely stopping to breathe? I can attest to this lately, as the demands of building up my massage business while continuing other part-time work have kept me occupied. Falling into bed last night I relished the thought of a day off today … but in my usual fashion I had a small pile of catch up chores to do – not really a day off. Then the unthinkable happened.
Out in the garden, while grabbing some greens for breakfast, I slipped on some tiles and fell. It happened so fast that I reacted reflexively, putting out my hands to catch myself. The ensuing crack of my vege knife hitting the concrete sounded like a bone breaking – thankfully it wasn’t. I pulled myself up, and sat there in shock, cradling my forearm and praying this wouldn’t halt my fledgling business for too long.
Sometimes when we don’t set boundaries on our time and energy, life steps in and overrules. In an interesting synchronicity, my mother sprained her ankle a few days ago – and in my observation she, like me, needed to slow down and take some time out.
The timing of this occurrence followed a wonderful weekend in which I attended a Yoga Nidra workshop. Yoga Nidra means yogic sleep, a conscious deep sleep-like state practiced for extreme relaxation and spiritual exploration. In my pursuit of knowledge and the practice of meditation, I found many of the Swami’s insights practical and helpful. In upcoming posts, I’ll go into more detail about this practice and my experiences with it. For today, as I finish typing one-handed, I’ll leave you with an apt quote I found:
Judge each day not by the harvest you reap,
nor by the seeds that you plant,
but by the stillness of your mind in meditation.
— Swami Jnaneshvara
“They are waiting for you out there, you know – the people who are truly meant to give you love, and the things that are really going to make you happy … You just have to go out there with the expectation that it will happen, and that expectation will draw in everything that truly belongs to you … Expect the energy from the higher source and it will come.”
Books as homing pigeons – a funny concept, no? Often they don’t come back, and when they do, it’s almost like a celebration (if you love them as much as I do). A book I loaned out ages ago returned recently. I’d loaned it with an attached “release statement” – to be kept or given on as the recipient saw fit. So when it arrived back in my hands, I took it as a sign to read it again. The first time I read this book, I enjoyed it immensely, all the while thinking it was very much a “man’s book”. Good, but very ‘goal oriented’.
My second reading (before releasing it out into the world again), was just as enjoyable – without the gendered categorising this time. And what an easy read – once again it took only a few days – but the concepts are still lingering, which is a good thing. With lots packed into short, easily digestible chapters, this is a great book about intention, creating and having the life you desire. It echoes another I finished not long ago, The Power of Intention by Dr. Wayne Dyer, but in a shorter, punchier format. Set out as a fictional story, this is one of my favourite ways to consider metaphysics.
It even features a simple meditation technique which I found fitting due to my current focus on meditation. This is particularly useful when feeling stressed. The technique is to lie in bed, close your eyes, and imagine God/a higher power or force is coming to visit you. You keep imagining that this is going to happen, no matter what.
In the book, the protagonist experiences a profound peace through this meditation. When I tried it, I found myself reframing it to, “imagine that God is actually right here with you, right now”. And the resulting presence I felt gave me to serenity I was seeking in that moment.
This is a book I’d heard about for many years before I read it, and by the time it found its way to me, I was familiar with the concepts. Far from being repetitious however, it gave me fresh perspective in a concise format. Definitely one to look into if you haven’t already.
For more on the author, check out: http://www.williamwhitecloud.com/
How is meditation going for you? I’m settling into a daily routine, and have found that combining techniques is working well for me. Each week I’m choosing a subject or area to focus on – the difference from earlier attempts and the tampering of my monkey mind is that I’m using a few rounds of Japa meditation (see my earlier post) to settle and focus, before I meditate on a predetermined topic. Below is one of my current favourite quotes – it’s up on my fridge and I’d like to share it with you. If you decide to use this as a meditation focus, spend some time also remembering that others may be meditating on this or similar topics, the whole world over. A truly empowering thought.
We are already one and we imagine we are not. And what we have to recover is our original unity. Whatever we have to be is what we are.
– Thomas Merton
Even when pruned, kiwifruit canes keep growing, drawing moisture and nutrients from the central stem. Even when cut, they remain connected to Source. Life still exists within. I learned this when working in a kiwifruit orchard two years ago, clearing prunings from the support strings that had held them up during their fruiting phase. The “dead” canes, cut from the vine, continued to grow and sprouted buds even as they were being cleared away.
In A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle teaches a ‘feeling the inner body’ exercise. To do this, you close your eyes, to find out if there is life inside your hands. You don’t ask the mind; you go directly to the hands. He advises to ‘Become aware of the subtle feeling of aliveness inside them’ (p. 52).
We may believe we are separate, distanced from others, alone. We may feel tired, dejected, despondent. Yet, everything is Life, it flows through all of us. We are all connected to the whole. We can tap into Source anytime we need to. May that truth carry you through the rest of this week,
I decided to try something different this week and used a couple of source books to provide ideas for my morning meditations. Guided meditation involves having a specific idea or intention that you hold in your mind and focus on. This idea or intention can be one of your own or someone else’s – check out the link below if you need some inspiration:
I have to admit I found it much harder to focus using guided meditation than I did with Japa. My mind hopped about at the start of each meditation but eventually settled. I’ve been working on my heart and throat chakras – more because the books I’m dipping into have prompted this than from any conscious decision. (More at the bottom of this post if you are interested in the specifics of the guided meditations I used).
One of the benefits I find with meditation is that it helps put me back in touch with myself, as evidenced by a startling moment of honesty that surfaced a couple of mornings ago. Sometimes what we see in these moments of clarity is not rosy. During a heart chakra meditation, I found myself asking, ‘Are you willing to release your fears around giving love?’ The answer was a resounding ‘NO!!’ Interesting. Rather than panicking, attempting to smooth over this response, or roll up my sleeves and immediately start clearing this, I decided to just sit with it. I told myself that, just for today, this was how I felt. I wasn’t ready to release my fear, and I owned that truth. You know what? It wasn’t so bad. My usual pattern of identifying problems and rushing to fix them didn’t kick in, and it was sheer relief. I allowed myself to be who I was, in that moment. And perhaps because of that, when I asked the same question the next day, I was able to allow that fear to release somewhat. To see that my fear around giving love was bound up in fears of being taken for granted, unappreciated, and being vulnerable. I was able to start letting go.
So often our ideas of who we should be, get in the way of accepting who we truly are. The Spirit of love that created us accepts us fully, and wants us to do the same. I realise that as I continue with the Heart Chakra meditation, other truths may surface. As I heal and clear these, still others might come to light. Some I will welcome and some I may not. If they help me know myself more deeply however, ultimately I have to be grateful for this. Not all parts of the process may be comfortable but I’m willing to go ahead anyway. Because I really think I’m worth it – and so are you!
The Chakras in Shamanic Practice: Eight Stages of Healing and Transformation by Susan J. Wright features a great meditation involving movement in which you work with manifesting your dream. (See Chapter 5, Seed to Tree exercise). Once you have identified your dream, this exercise uses yoga asanas and focused meditation to help you visualise yourself and your dream starting as a seed through to manifesting as a tree.
Chakra Clearing: Awakening Your Spiritual Power to Know and Heal by Doreen Virtue has many different types of meditations, focused around clearing your chakras. The Heart Chakra meditation takes you through a process of releasing your fears around love, around being loved, giving love, and clearing all the negative experiences you may have had in any type of relationship. In addition to healing these experiences and fears, the meditation seeks to reconnect you with your intuition, which is a powerful guide in helping you to attract relationships that honour and support you.