Lately I have been meditating more often, primarily for the purpose of checking in with myself to see what comes up, or with an intention of grounding my energy. In times of stress, depression, or anxiety, meditation has particularly been helpful to build resilience. If the saying “all of life is meditation” is true, than how can we ensure we are practicing actively moment to moment?
COMFORTABLE FACING THE UNCOMFORTABLE
A challenge I revisit is simply walking and allowing myself to notice my surroundings. Truly notice. Not just the pretty things. To feel aware internally, and of my surroundings, fully mindfully present, is my intention. While some meditation can be deeply relaxing, sometimes it can be just the opposite, bringing the mind closer to the unpleasant. Becoming comfortable in the uncomfortable, is where I personally find the words “all of life is meditation” become action. I do not treat meditation as an escape. I view it as an active mindful practice.
NO MUD NO LOTUS
It’s not just an asana or book by Thich Nhat Hahn.
The lotus is a beautiful flower deeply rooted in mud, and blooms atop murky waters.
There is a hiking trail I take where stagnant water nearby sometimes smells terrible. I will avoid it. It is impossible not to notice. Just writing about it, I can smell it. It has now become a habit to speed up to get out of there as fast as possible, whether or not the smell has struck my nostrils. While excellent for sprinting, this simple act of avoidance mildly mimics the same instinct in the mind as trauma. Big or small, when an unpleasant emotion arises we can’t run from it in order for it to disappear. Of course, no one wants to linger where it smells terrible, but avoidance of emotion only gets us further from a place of growth. Sometimes it is only a matter of seconds before I realize how far away I ran, wondering just how long I’d transfixed on what I’m supposed to get done in the day. Or what I didn’t the day before. Or why. And so on. Thoughts of past and present, samskaras (more on these inner patterns in a future post), creep into my quiet moments, screaming to stop wasting my time and get to work. Here, I realize I am only punishing myself, looking into the future, instead of actively living in the moment, observing the details so often taken for granted. It sounds so simple. Cliche even. The tiniest details are the very ones that could make all the difference in mentality, performance, and our overall growth or wellbeing.
Come to Your Breath
One of the easiest ways to come back to the immediate moment is to come to your breath. Breath is fundamental to life. The further we are from the breath, the further we are from living. Practicing different breathing techniques can become a healthy and transformative technique to incorporate into your practice.
Curious about meditation?
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