Oftentimes, people come to learn how to meditate because their lives have been overtaken by stress, they can’t focus, they can’t sleep, they feel anxious or depressed. These are wonderful reasons to begin a meditation practice. But meditation is much more than a good feeling.
Most don’t realize that meditation is part of the 8 Limbs of Yoga. It’s literally a yoga practice. Most of us in the West believe that yoga is simply the postures in a class with an instructor but that’s literally only one arm of the 8 Limbs of Yoga.
While I won’t get into those in this article, let’s at least begin with understanding what the word YOGA actually means. Translated, it means the union of body, mind and spirit. So, what actually does that mean? Picture a three-legged stool, each of these being one of the legs.
When we have allowed our lives to “get away from us” in the form of anxiety, depression, insomnia or simply a gross feeling of simply not living our lives in a meaningful or purposeful way, we are clearly off balance in body, mind and spirit. It’s as if one of the legs of that stool have broken so the entire stool falls over. If we are unaware of this imbalance or unable to right the stool, we stay off balance until we are.
Meditation is much more than a good feeling. We all carry stories that we replay and relive in our minds over and over again. Some of us have unresolved traumas as well. Every one of us has a story in our minds that originates from
If you stop at this moment and close your eyes and ask yourself: What are my conversations around abandonment, something may pop into mind automatically. Perhaps for you instead it’s about rejection or betrayal. It’s right there, isn’t it? Right below the surface.
Meditation is much more than a good feeling. The dedicated and continuous practice of meditation strengthens our “noticing muscles” in such a way that we are able to see these underlying conversations. Once seen, we each have the choice as to whether or not we want to dig deeper to uncover, discover and discard the pain and let go of it. This is the “mind” part of yoga - the union of body mind and spirit I mentioned earlier.
As long as we are holding on to our fixed beliefs and ego, we have limited access to our spiritual selves.
Our spiritual journey begins typically with the densest physical blockages followed by the emotional. It is only when we’ve cleared those blockages that our spiritual selves will evolve.
Purchase a new journal or notebook. Or use the one you may have picked up during Sunday Community Meditation at Satsang House.
Sit quietly and close your eyes
Take a few deep breaths until your body and mind begin to settle.
Set an intention about this exercise like:
"Allow me to be open to what I am about to discover about myself
Let me surrender to what I uncover here today."
Then follow these steps:
1. Ask yourself: what is my attitude to the difficulties of my life? Allow the answers to flow onto the page in front of you. Do not edit yourself or your thinking. By that I mean do not tell yourself “oh, I’m fine, I’m over that” or something along those lines. Instead, just allow whatever is there to surface and be expressed onto the page.
2. Then Ask yourself: where have I felt...
Allow these answers to flow onto the page in front of you without censoring any of it. Remember, the intention of this exercise is to drive up the old conversations that have been unwittingly keeping you stuck.
3. When you feel you have expressed yourself as thoroughly as possible in this moment, stop. Close your eyes again and thank your intuitive self for allowing you to uncover some of your pain.
4. Sit quietly for about 10 minutes and allow yourself to feel the power of the feelings you’ve just identified and expressed. If this looks like crying, screaming, getting angry or feeling bewildered, that is fine. Just notice and allow. Notice and allow.
This exercise may be quite activating for some of you. If you find that you are being flooded with emotional baggage you haven’t looked at before or in a very long time, understand that it is ok to feel whatever you are feeling in this moment. We are embarking on the process of healing. This healing will not take place in one hour or perhaps not even in one year.
Your spiritual journey toward awakening will take as long as it takes. There is no timeline and there is no end point.
There’s no destination point where we can say “you are not enlightened.” It is your path and your path alone. Meditation is much more than a good feeling and soon you will start to move beyond that idea and into a depth you didn't know you could achieve.
5. Continue to practice meditation a minimum of 10-20 minutes per day. Ideally, my recommendation is that you bookend your day with meditation, twice daily for a minimum of 10-20 minutes.
6. Minimize your social media and cell phone use
7. Take time in nature every day to reconnect.
8. Take good care of your physical well-being. Eat a plant-based unprocessed diet. Minimize sugar and salt.
9. Get physical. It doesn’t have to be a power workout. Just get outside, take the dogs on a walk around the block, go to the park, anything to stir your body into motion.
10. Get a minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
11. Drink plenty of pure water to flush the emotional and physical toxins from your body.
12. Find time to connect with others in the community. If you can, join us for our community of like-minded souls for our SUNDAY COMMUNITY MEDITATION SANGHA. Stay in the conversation, allow us all to support you along the path.
13. Reach out to me if I can provide any support. Consider booking a one-on-on COACHING SESSION with me to find your footing in this practice.
14. Remember, we are all feeling the same way. Our feelings are simply wrapped up in different boxes with different colored ribbons but we are all the same.