I recently returned from a meditation retreat at Hockley Valley at the Ecology Retreat Centre, Ontario. During this weekend of intense meditation practice, goal setting, self reflection, yoga, sound healing and conscious dance, I was struck by the many breakthroughs that so many participants had.
What became very obvious to all who participated, was how important it is to cultivate a spiritual practice. Whether its sitting quietly and observing the moment as it is or getting onto the yoga mat or putting on inspiring music and jumping around the living room, spending time alone with ourselves is critical for our emotional and mental well being. This type of practice centers us in our bodies and is an act of self love. It takes us deep into a place of oneness that is outside of time and the limitations of the berating (untrustworthy) constructs of the mind.
"This type of practice centers us in our being- it is an act of self love"
When we come to sitting quietly on the mat, we witness the nature of the mind's habit of repeating negative and self deprecating thoughts that keep us small and fearful. We also become acutely aware of our physical and emotional discomfort. Sometimes this leads people to be afraid of meditation or of doing anything alone.
A common mistake that people often make while practicing is that they focus on their negative thoughts and sensations. Meditation teaches us to simply observe what's going on in the moment and to surrender to that. For example, if a pain arises, just observe what's going on- as if none of it is you. The objective is to stay calm and in a state of allowance. This discipline helps us to become more strong and balanced in life. The more we practice staying equanimous in our meditation, the better we will inevitably become at dealing with life's difficult experiences.
So many people become depleted in life because they over give, over exert, over think and shy away from spending time alone. We find excuses to not cultivate alone time because it scares the hell out of us! Ironically, spending time alone is what most of us need most. Alone time teaches us to be reflective, self aware, more accepting and more independant. We learn how to become our own caregiver and teachers and also come to understand more deeply the connection between ourselves and others.
Meditation (including any activity that brings us joy and peace) is an act of self love. It strengthens our minds, cultivates inner peace and determination and illuminates our true nature which is an authentic expression of Divine light!