Sunday, September 23, 2012

Meditation Marathon Day 7 - What is this? and a specific way to meditate

So it has been a week since the meditation marathon has started and what a great week it has been!  I am truly inspired by all of the yes' on Facebook to practicing meditation and the face to face conversations that have taken place in the last 7 days.  Some of you have had questions on how to meditate and when or for how long.  There has been some discussion as to why call it a marathon.  Some want to know how I "plan" what I write and so on. 

I put a short explanation of the meditation marathon on the Facebook event page, but maybe I will expand more here.  Basically, earlier this year I did my own meditation marathon as I came to the realization that for the last 3 - 4 months of my schooling and ministerial licensing that I needed a constant, steady and focused spiritual practice to keep me grounded as I approached the end of schooling and moved closer to the question "Now what?".  I finished school successfully and passed my panels for licensing with ease and grace.  I have landed a wonderful new job and continue to explore how my life as a minister, spiritual counselor and teacher can continue to expand.  However in the past month, I noticed myself feeling a bit unsettled, anxious and grumpy.  I then came to the realization that I needed another constant, steady and focused spiritual practice full of intention to ground me again.  So I decided to do another meditation marathon.  I intentionally call it a marathon because I am committing to this practice not for a week or a month even but until the end of the year.  The practice will for sure go on longer than that, but when I got the idea to ask friends and family to join me in this I thought it would be a good idea to give it some sort of book end and the end of the year felt right.  I like the word marathon because it implies distance and endurance. 

I don't think meditation needs to be hard, however, to continue to meditate everyday regardless of what is going on in our lives, to me, mimics the focus and determination required in training and the actual running of a race (no I haven't done a full marathon, but I did run a half marathon and trust is no joke! grin).  So I don't want to scare or intimidate anyone from joining this practice, but I also want folks to know that this is a powerful journey to commit to.  There is no wrong way to do it, there is no one watching and counting how many days you do or don't meditate.  The reason I invited folks to do this with me, was it is always easier to do things in groups I have found.  AND one of the things I absolutely love is community and I thought "you know there really is a powerful community of folks on Facebook, wouldn't it be fun to see how many people would want to do this and share this experience?"  And low and behold there is a resounding yes, literally friends all over the country and world are meditating and joining in this collective meditation wherever you are know you aren't alone, if you feel alone simply post something on the event page and I guarantee you will feel the connection.

As for "how" to meditate or for how long, that is strictly up to you.  Obviously there is no actual place for us to meet and do this together, so the practice is on your own, at work, home, on the bus wherever, however I highly recommend a space that is special to you.  You can meditate for 5 minutes or 50 minutes, the length right now is not important, rather the daily practice is.  So as for length, do what feels comfortable and that which allows you to be successful everyday.  As for how, I will sprinkle different techniques throughout the marathon, for now simply sit in the silence or with some light music. 

The "type" of meditation I suggest for this week is called contemplative meditation.  This generally means taking some sort of short inspirational/thought provoking reading and sitting with it, reading it over a few times and then closing your eyes and asking yourself, "what does this reading have to say to me today?" and let your heart, mind and soul take it from there.

Let this quote from Joel S. Goldsmith's Practicing the Presence inspire what you might read:  "Every person who has known dissatisfaction, incompleteness, and frustration will some day learn that there is only on missing link in his entire plan of harmonious living.  That is the practice of the presence of God(use another word if God pushes a button, try Spirit, Love, Wisdom, Wholeness or Grace)--consciously, daily and hourly, abiding in some great spiritual truth of scripture, and it makes no difference which scripture: Christian, Hebrew, Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist or Muslim.  The Word of God, given to man through inspired saints, sages, seers, or revelators--this is what we need, in any language, from any country, just as long as it is a universal truth".

Have a great week all.  Meditate and contemplate well!

Love, Light & Laughter,


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Distraction, Control & Showing Up- Day 2

Well this morning was interesting.  I chose to listen to music this morning as I meditated.  It usually allows me a quick deep dive into my heart for meditation...well, not so much this morning.  I like to use Pandora's Calm Meditation channel, but one song came on that had chanting that wasn't calming at all, it just irritated me.

So I started fumbling around with my phone (I was using it as the device for music) and it was slow, not pulling up the screen very fast, so I started pushing a bunch of buttons and nothing happened, my frustration began to increase, then...AWARENESS!  I was trying so hard to control my meditation this morning it was painful.  Then all I could do was chuckle a bit at myself for my need to control the music and came to the insight, "Darrell, all you need to do is show up and that is what you did this morning!"

I was making my meditation time wrong this morning, because my mind was ping-ponging all over the place, and then I remembered that just a couple days ago, I wasn't meditating, now I am....all I need to do is show up and let God, Spirit, Life, Universal Wisdom do the rest.

So I step into my day with the awareness that I like to control things, but all I really need to do is show up and foster my relationship with whatever is and an immediate shift begins to take place.

I set the intention today to simply show up and be aware.  In the midst of life's distractions and my need to control and make everything okay, all I need to do is show up and be mindful and everything will be okay...because everything is always okay.  I am grateful once again to cultivate a powerful relationship with the spirit of my own being, the Spirit of life itself!

Namaste, Ashe, Amen, And So It Is!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Making The Time to Meditate

Wow it has been months since I have taken the time to write in my blog.....hmmm, seems like I have said that before about my meditation practice or for that matter everything in my life "wow its been a long time since I exercised, journaled, taken a nap, laughed, cried, danced...insert whatever you like."  It seems sometimes, life moves in and something takes ahold of our attention and one day we wake up and say to ourselves, "what happened?"  Where did my intention go, what happened to my New Year's resolution, what about my vision board.  Why am I feeling so out of sorts, angry, confused, frustrated et cetera.  I have found myself in this space over and over again in my fact I am in that very space right now.

I have chosen to live a full life.  Any of you that know me or have tried to book a counseling session or even grab a cup of coffee or lunch with me,  know I keep a very full schedule.  That is partially how I am wired to be this life time, I will always have a full life and a full schedule.  However, I have noticed lately that the full feeling is turning into a feeling of bloatedness if that makes sense.  Fullness is such a wonderful and beautiful thing, but when I am bloated it is usually indicative of swelling, inflammation, infection or irritation.  This is true in my physical body as well as my mental, emotional and spiritual body.  When my life feels bloated as opposed to full, I start asking myself questions...lots of questions.  Why do I feel this way?  What am I doing that is causing this irritation?  OR What am I NOT doing that is causing this irritation?  Would I choose to feel this way, if not then what am I choosing?  The list of questions can go on and on and they often do.  The thing that I let myself do is question, there isn't necessarily one single question that is the "right" one, rather the process of inquiry, shakes me up a bit and allows me to open up to some much needed awareness.  Sometimes it is deep profound insight, sometimes it is quite simply but still just as powerful.

This time around the question that brought the insight was "What am I NOT doing that is causing this irritation within me?  What am I NOT doing that is causing this feeling of my life being bloated?"  The simple answer came as I prepared to write this article.  I wanted to start writing and found myself a bit scattered in thought and finally took 10 minutes to turn on some soothing music, close my eyes and breath...yes that is right, I took a few moments to meditate.  Oh my gosh, how good did it feel!  I touched something familiar in those 10 minutes that I hadn't been experiencing much in the past month or so...peace, space, grace, self love and a sense of wholeness and things being right.  Man it felt so good to meditate and simply be still...and in the recognition of that feeling good, I became aware that my daily meditation practice had fallen apart.  I was dedicated to my meditation marathon earlier this year and was meditating every single date without fail.  I attained my "goal" of graduation and licensing to become a minister which was my motivation to meditate.  It gave me "reason" if you will as I knew it would be a big time of change and transition and I could use the internal support.  I have continued to do some sort of spiritual practice almost everyday, but my dedication to sitting in the stillness everyday started to waiver and eventually fell to only a handful of times a week if that!

Wow, as I sat meditating preparing to write I found myself saying "wow, it has been a long time since I've meditated like this!"  As I came out of my meditation I was immediately drawn to this quote from the wise Henry Ford "Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently."

Oh thank goodness!  I simply get to begin again, I start another meditation marathon again...right now!  Won't you join me.  There is nothing to figure out about why we have or haven't been meditating the way we want to, we simply start again.  This time I begin my meditation marathon again with a little more intelligence...there is nothing to meditate for or towards really, I simply must meditate.  So I begin again....won't you join me?