Monday, December 29, 2014

Meditation as a grounding practice...

Why do we meditate?
Is it to better ourselves in some way so that we can have lasting happiness?

If you sit down to meditate with a set goal such as to be happy it can turn into an exercise in frustration. Making time to meditate means we're getting off the fast track through life so that we can connect with the life that is right here. We open to our lived experience, right here, right now. Sometimes it's more challenging than others as when we get swept away by our emotions and stories. Sometimes this can feel as if we are in the middle of a tornado and unable to see things clearly. Sitting down to meditate in the midst of emotional chaos with a set expectation regarding the outcome is not meditation. It's instead another way of resisting what is happening in our lives at the moment. When we are trying to make something happen it's usually because we are in some way resisting life. Instead if we approach meditation with the intention to help ourselves. We get off the reactivity ride and shift to responding in a way that helps us open to what is happening within us.

Meditation is a practice that helps us stay connected to our lived experience moment to moment. It is a practice that can help us learn to stay grounded and calm instead of reactive and agitated. It's when we open our awareness to explore what is going on within, without judging ourselves that we can reconnect with life as it is. We let go of defensive reactions and come into direct contact with the vulnerability that lies beneath the defense. We stop living life like a character in a novel.

Notice when you're caught up in a story...

I like to say that we're great storytellers and have a habit of taking events that happen in our lives and making up stories about what it means. As a result we sometimes end up living like a character in a novel. In reality, things that happen in the world around us aren't about us. When we take things personally and react by blaming, criticizing or getting defensive we escalate the pain that then leads to suffering. Meditation practice can help us notice how that reactivity is affecting our body, mind and heart. If I'm hurt and I sit down to meditate, instead of focusing on the situation or person that triggered the hurt I can begin to notice how the hurt shows up in my body. I pause...breathe and notice is there tension in my body? Is there a heaviness around my heart? I tune into the breath and notice if there is tension or pressure there. I begin to breathe in bringing compassion to the hurt. As I breathe in and allow the hurt to be there and meet it with compassion and acceptance. The intention is to turn towards the pain instead of lashing out at others. When I am able to do this it helps me to reground myself, to soothe the emotions. It also allows me to see when I am caught up in a story filled with defensiveness and reactivity. With this awareness I can begin to respond in healing ways. Meditation can help you develop the capacity to help yourself stay connected to life instead of the midst of a story about life.

Meditation is the path that helps us come back into balance with body, mind, heart and life. It's not about perfecting ourselves, it's about freeing ourselves from the stories and reactions that can keep us stuck and disconnected from the vibrant life that is right here. 

May you be peaceful

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