I often find that by simply relaxing and clearing my mind, I suddenly realize something that had eluded me for a very long time when I tried to figure it out through working with my mind. These realizations often seem profound when they arrive (when we arrive) but what I believe is more profound, is that meditation opens us in a way that can enable us to quickly receive our own inner wisdom and guidance, leaving us with powerful new perspectives that can change our daily lives. All it takes is practice, and the willingness to surrender.
There is no correct way to meditate and there are many different ways to meditate. I use four different meditation practices, one on a daily basis, and the others, from time to time. Morning meditation I believe is the most important because it sets the pace for the day. We have sixteen, if not more waking hours in front of us as we face each day. By taking part of an hour early in the day for meditation practice, I establish my intention and rhythm for the day, and the rest of the hours seem to fall into place. This is because meditation has a residual and cumulative effect, the more consistently we do it. “When we learn to listen with our soul, our life becomes larger,” is a quote in my first book, From Confusion To Clarity, which goes into greater depth about the many benefits of having a meditation practice.
What is your preferred meditation practice? My daily practice involves chanting in front of a scroll which serves as a focal point. I’ve also done Transcendental Meditation which is the silent repetition of a mantra, given especially to you by someone trained in TM. You are not supposed to share your mantra with anyone or ever say it aloud. It is meant to be yours and yours alone. My mantra was given to me several years ago by a teacher who had just returned from a retreat in India with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of TM. I won’t forget the moment my mantra was first whispered in my ear or the many benefits I’ve received since embracing both of these practices.
Since those early days, I have also used the Holosync Solution, which is sound meditation with headphones, and involves listening to rain and crystal bowls, as well as guided meditation with Neale Donald Walsch, where you write down a question, and the answer to your question is received during the meditation. All of these are powerful forms of meditation, for me and many others, and I highly recommend them, I have friends that do yoga, and I have tried different types of yoga but none seem to resonate with me. You must find what works for you.
Like meditation, inspirational quotes can serve a similar purpose in the sense that they help to remind us of and reinforce, ways in which we can reframe our thinking. There are many places to find daily inspirational quotes. I invite you to visit me at https://www.facebook.com/MicheleHarveyAuthorPoet where I post inspirational quotes twice daily. If my inspirational quotes resonate with you, please become my friend or subscriber.
Taking a walk in nature, doing the dishes, sweeping leaves, dancing, all these things and many others, can serve as meditation practice when you relax into the present moment, attune with your senses, and when your mind is clear and unattached to whatever thoughts may occur. What is your preferred meditation practice? How has your life improved since you started meditating? What do you find challenging about meditation? What if anything holds you back from embracing a daily meditation practice?
We are strange and peculiar beings built with an inner desire to grow. No matter who we are or where we are: no matter what we have or haven’t achieved so far the human being is programmed to reach for growth. Psychologists call this programming the organismic valuing system – our inner tendency to move towards an experience of the highest, truest, most beautiful expression of who we are.
It seems that we are born to experience greatness.
And yet there is within us something that resists this growth.
There is within us a place of inner darkness; a place that cannot see or feel or vision our true potential. I’ve heard this place of darkness referred to as the ‘the innate predator’ of our souls. It is our inbuilt tendency to resist our personal unfolding and it works in direct opposition to our organismic valuing system.
The innate predator works with our unconscious minds to create obstacles to our growth. Often we remain unaware of it until such a time that we begin to actively seek our own growth. Then we can find that when we make a decision to do something to enable that growth we end up discovering 101 reasons why we shouldn’t commit to our desired course of action!
Here’s an example from my own life.
I made the commitment to write this blog. It’s something I want to do. I believe its part of my journey towards finding and using my voice and yet despite this conviction I find myself procrastinating. I sit down at the computer and do almost anything but write the blog: e-mails, Facebook, my website, other people’s sites – all these pull me away from the task in hand!
Why is this? Why despite our best intentions do we seem to sabotage our own efforts to improve and grow into the fullness of who we are?
It may be helpful to return to the opening lines of poetry and the analogy of ourselves as a seed. A seed has the potential to become something beautiful but in order for this to happen the seed must be planted in soil. The soil is dark, heavy and damp and it bears down on the seed, covering it and almost suffocating it YET the seed does not resist the soils darkness it works with it. The seed knows that the soil provides the exact, fertile ground needed for it to grow. All the seed needs to do is to lean into this heaviness in order to find its way through the darkness towards the light.
And the same is true for us.
We, like seeds, are programmed for greatness BUT in order to achieve that greatness we must learn to navigate our own inner darkness. This means that when we feel resistance we should embrace it and use it as a vehicle (a tool or map) to help us find our way to the light of our own greatness.
Wherever you are right now, whatever you are experiencing you can be sure that you are receiving the exact right conditions needed for you to fulfill your greatest potential here on earth.
Life is always bringing us opportunities to grow and develop; to remember our wholeness as tri part beings; mind, body and soul. Yet when we resist Life’s offerings we sabotage our ability to grow.
Resistance hardens us; it breeds stress and tension which create a barrier that only serves to strengthen our resistance.
When we find ourselves in resistance it can be wise to ask ourselves which aspect of Life (of the Whole, the Divine), are we not allowing ourselves to experience?
Much of my own life has been spent in resistance. We have already identified procrastination as one way that resistance shows up but perhaps some of the following will be familiar with you too?
•Resisting the present moment by daydreaming about the past and/or dwelling on anxieties about the future
•Resisting your body’s signals for rest and pushing on regardless.
•Resisting feeling the full extent of your emotions – especially the ones you perceive to be negative
•Being reluctant to express an opinion
•Avoiding saying “Yes” to something you really want to do because you fear failure
THE ROOT OF ALL RESISTANCE IS FEAR.
Resistance comes from the small self who does not have the ability to vision life beyond itself. The small self fears it will be lost in the process of growth and so it is in its interest to stay small and resist the growth process.
So how do we begin to change all this?
How do we begin to let our resistance work for us as opposed to against us?
The key is awareness.
We begin by identifying areas of resistance in our lives and asking ourselves, “What does this resistance feel like? What does it look like? Does it have a shape or colour or sound?”
Getting a picture in our minds eye can be helpful especially if we compare it to a picture of what we perceive our growth would look like.
Here are two images I play with.
The first is the seed lying dormant in the soil (resistance) compared with the picture of a full blossoming rose (growth).
The second is a sailing ship, masts down, anchored in the harbour (resistance) compared with a ship at sea, in full sail enjoying the freedom of the ocean (growth).
There is of course nothing WRONG with living life as a seed or an anchored ship. The choice is always ours. There may be good reasons why we want to remain in resistance at the moment BUT if we desire growth then we must choose, at some point to at least set sail!
We move from resistance to growth by taking small, manageable steps; by feeling the resistance and moving slowly but surely in that direction until it begins to soften. Hence I begin to write this blog despite insecurity, doubt and the anxiety that it may not be well received by its readers!
So what is it that you are resisting right now?
My advice is to move slowly, gently and deliberately towards it. Stay open and curious about your resistance. Keep your pictures in mind; the small self and the larger self. Know that the Divine wants you to grow and achieve your potential.
We are all partakers in the great adventure of life – there is little fun or enjoyment in playing small. I know, I’ve done it most of my life. But no longer!
So feel and see yourself reaching your full potential and hang onto that feeling – it is your birthright; you were born to feel that way.
You are not small, weak, and insignificant. You are not meant to be overlooked. You are meant to be noticed, to wave your beauty at the world, to celebrate your life.
Resistance is here to help you. It is your guide. Give thanks for it; embrace it; then go out and LIVE YOUR LIFE!
“Jannietta is a poet who loves the power of words to heal and transform lives. After facing a series of losses in her life she now embraces with joy the process of re-discovering her true self and celebrating the wonder of being alive. She is author of Barefoot on Green Grass, a collection of poetry that explores love, loss and relationship and Wild Swans Flying a book of contemplative poems on love, life and landscape. You can find our more about her by visiting at www.jannietta.com or by following her on Facebook ”
Though we are never alone
It sometimes feels that way.
From the simmering stirs
Of early summer,
To deer that hide within the mist,
Life is a constant wanderer.
Everything one day drifts away.
So I’m crafting myself
A seaworthy sail,
Inviting the moment to take me,
Grateful for the birth of the new day.
Many of us acknowledge feeling jittery when things in our lives begin to noticeably change. I use the term “noticeably” because things are always changing. Life is just another word for change. Indeed personal growth, as well as life itself, cannot occur without it.
How we feel about change has a lot to do with our perception of what is occurring, as well as our perceived level of control over things, and how we ultimately assess or label what is happening and its impact.
Changes we initiate or perceive as welcome, also bring stress, but it is a healthier form of stress, like the stress of striving to meet a healthy challenge.
Though it sometimes feels as if too much change occurs at once, or perhaps not enough is occurring, and it often feels as if change is occurring too quickly, or not soon enough, all of these perceptions are imagined. Change occurs exactly when it is supposed to occur, according to the concept of divine timing.
I have been doing quite a bit of traveling within the USA lately. Having just returned from a 16 day trip spanning three States. I will also be re-locating in another month and that is why I am discussing change.
Frankly, in the last six years, having lived in two cities in Chile, and in various parts of three different US States, I have moved more than a mathematician can count, or at least it feels that way. Though fond of travel, now that I am a bit older, this girl is hoisting a white flag. I hereby declare my wish to be retired as a gypsy. I believe I can be happy almost anywhere as long as it is not too remote or isolated, and at this point in my life, I am starting to feel uncomfortable with changes that seem big, like re-location as opposed to travel, which I find much simpler. Having been given the choice to move this time, I chose to move, but soon after, wished it did not have to be so soon.
I longed to longer know this place
Of deserts gold, and brown, and grey,
Whose dusty storms of desert rain
I find when things are good, and life is happy and comfortable, and we are with the people we really like, when it all seems relatively simple, I often wish that things would stay the way they are longer than they actually do, for one reason or another.
During times like these, change is perceived differently. If change feels too soon to me right now, isn’t it really a message to calm down and focus on the present moment only? For it is only by showing up maximally in the present, and shining a bright inner-light on each day¸ that we can lengthen its value, deepen its meaning, and experience each day of life more gratefully lived. This too makes us more open to change.
Please tell me below. How do you feel about change?
From Confusion To Clarity: Vital Personal Growth in 30 Days or Less is available everywhere in print and as an e book. For signed copies please visit http://micheleharveyauthor.com Stay tuned for my upcoming book of poetry, Poetry for Living an Inspired Life: Poems as Spiritual Meditation, currently a work in progress.