I recently had the opportunity for a mini camping retreat with Beth (our VW van). A lovely friend shared a quiet spot by a little lake and gave me the opportunity to enjoy a little bit of sunshine, fresh air and friendship. We took some time to sit by the lake in the morning and practice our mindfulness/meditation practice amidst the birds and the breeze, it was quit wonderful really. I've noticed that this concept, mindfulness, is quite popular these days. I see magazine and newspaper articles, there are a ton of books on mindfulness, I personally like to use mindfulness as a tool when I am teaching a yoga class. To simplify it mindfulness is simply giving mindful attention to life. This practice of mindfulness or meditation is a part of my day that I really look forward to and cherish. However it didn't start this way. I remember the first time I attempted to meditate, my teacher back then (15 years ago) instructed me to start small. So, I set a timer for 3 minutes figuring this will be a piece of cake. It was the longest 3 minutes of my life and in that 3 minutes I learned that my mind never stopped thinking. It was like a crowded room of voices all trying to talk over each other. This experience inspired me to commit to a meditation practice.
When you begin a meditation practice it may seem like not much is happening at first. In fact it may feel the opposite. Besides the lists of things to do, the he said she said stories, negative thoughts or patterns show up like judgment, anger and fear. At first you may not even notice that something starts to happen. What does happen is that you begin making space to be with what is rather than with the past or future plans. As the great teacher Ram Das puts it, this allows us to see more of the mystery of life itself. This is a place where we can step into another dimension and remember who we really \ are. Beyond the small sense of self to the vastness of the greater Self is in deed liberating. In this we discover our true nature. We become the consciousness rather than our experiences and this gives us the opportunity to rest in the timeless. Instead of focusing on the changing conditions we turn our attention to the One who knows and we rest in awareness itself.
I am excited about where my meditation practice is taking me. There are times now when I am going about life that I find myself able to just watch my thoughts. It is truly a gift in these moments to not be so caught up in my thoughts. I can actually see that I am not them and I get a glimpse of something that actually feels like freedom. I find myself in this place of wonder, realizing that all of this time I have been believing what my thoughts were telling me and suddenly it's like someone turned on the light and I can see. So, loving my practice, a sense of presence, even touching on enlightenment and bliss at times there are still days when I have resistance. I wish it weren't so but I am human and I am required but inspired to tap into my resolve every day and sit.
A lovely poem by Rumi ~ You have been walking the ocean's edge, holding up your robes to keep them dry. You must dive deeper under, A thousand times deeper.
I have heard that there are approximately 3000 pages and 1000 studies out there on meditation, here are just a few of the facts: meditation creates more balance in your life and lessens stress, can help you to be more pliable and less reactive, more mental clarity, attention & focus, academic performance goes up, improved emotional regulation, stronger resiliency, more access to compassion, improved ability to resolve conflicts, improved immune function, Nero protection, more rapid healing, increased integration of different dimensions of our capacities and executive functions.
My spiritual name is Sivakami, which means... one who desires transformation and/or one who transforms desires. I live in Rifle, Colorado where I teach yoga, create art and love life. I would love to hear your comments.