I recently returned from a meditation retreat at Hockley Valley at the Ecology Retreat Centre, Ontario. It was lead by my colleague Russell Scott (https://www.awakentheguruinyou.com) and co facilitated by myself. 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 was 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 physical, emotional and mental well being. This type of practice centers us in our being- it is an act of self love. It takes us deep into to a place that is outside of time and the limitations of the berating (untrustworthy) mind of thoughts, recollections and worries.
"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 come to understand that the nature of the mind is to repeat over and over our negative, 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. One mistake that people often make while practicing, is that they focus on their negative sensations which then feeds the sensations making the discomfort more pronounced. In other words, where the mind goes, energy flows and grows! One of the teachings in meditation is to simply observe what's going on and surrender to it. For example, if a negative thought or pain arises, one can say, "Not now, I'm observing my breath", or they can simply detach, not focus on that thing, and just observe what's going on- as if none of it is you. The objective is to stay calm... The more we practice staying calm in out 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, we might come face to face with ourselves and realize that we are in fact beautiful beings. Then we understand that the compassion that is required to heal ourselves, others and the world is a shared, collective endeavor. Can we lean into our pain and the pain of others and say, "This too is love!" Perhaps this pain is actually love attempting to reveal and express itself so that we can grow in our beingness, open our hearts and realize that I am you, you are me and we are all the same!
I believe that meditation (including any activity that brings us joy and peace) is in fact an act of self love. It feeds our true nature which is to be an authentic expression of Divine light!
Om shanti, shanti, shanti- peace, peace peace!