Our life's journey brings various people and experiences into our field of awareness. It causes waves of thoughts and emotions to move us to a deeper understanding of ourselves and of those around us. There is one most important thing that I believe we must remember throughout this journey - that regardless of the nature of our experience, our job is to accept and surrender to it. Resistance to the here and now creates currents that go against the flow of life. It makes the terrain all the more difficult to navigate. We are naturally wired to resist, it takes effort and intentionality to surrender and trust that life is unfolding the way it is supposed to. When you think about it, all we have is this moment, really. So, I would say that the power is in the now. Because it is only in this present moment when we can choose. We can choose to be joyful, grateful, and loving. Or we can choose to not be any of those things. The outcome of the next moment, we call the future, depends greatly upon the choices we make in the present moment.
At different points in our lives, we experience varying degrees of pain. During these heightened moments, it is easy to believe that we are going through the most hurtful moments of our lives. And yet when we look back weeks, months, or years thereafter, the experience is nothing but a distant memory. I believe that the power is in the here and now. It is where the pain is so intense, it is when it hurts the most that we have the choice to either suffer or grow from the experience. The pain that we are feeling is but a recent memory, it is not the here and now. At this moment, while we hold the remnants of our pain, we can look at it with gratitude because it gives rise to a deeper and greater awareness of ourselves. I am inspired by the thoughts of Jon Kabat-Zinn about healing and curing. He says, "Healing does not mean curing, although the two words are often used interchangeably. While it may not be possible for us to cure ourselves or to find someone who can, it is always possible for us to heal ourselves. Healing implies the possibility for us to relate differently to illness, disability, even death, as we learn to see with eyes of wholeness. Healing is coming to terms with things as they are." It is in the here and now where we can choose to relate differently to our pain. This is the time when it is more important for us to be mindful of our thoughts and feelings.
When an intense wave of sorrow and despair sneaks into the crevices of our lives it can feel as if our hearts have been shattered into pieces. As we slowly pick ourselves up from the brokenness of our human experience, it is important to bring to mind all the things that we have learned about life. This is my conclusion: the pain- this pain- is an experience of contrast between the place where we are and where we wish to be. The key is to lean into it. Pain is an opportunity for growth. It allows for the expansion of our awareness. It brings us closer to our heart's desires. By letting go of resistance and finding ease in the present moment, we open the path for true love and abounding happiness to ensue. It creates a very potent ground for our hopes and dreams to come to us. It establishes a deep and more meaningful connection to our inner being, our highest self. The secret to this journey is braving vulnerability. Contrary to popular belief, vulnerability is not a weakness. It is a powerful act of courage. Very few of us wear our hearts on our sleeves, it is not something that the world encourages because it puts us at a risk of being seen. But you know what? I believe there is grandeur in the willingness to be seen. It does not matter how hard we fall because we know that throughout the process, we have presented our best and truest selves to the ones we love. There are no regrets, just gratitude for the rich experience of what we call life.
I just felt a nudge to begin writing. I know that in my previous post I have shared what is currently working for me. I believe that there are many ways to achieve stillness in our minds. If sitting and breathing does not work, it may work to seek movement of some sort to allow for the energies to flow through you. For some, it may be dance, yoga, running, swimming, etc... It really doesn't matter how you achieve it, given the fact that we are all wired differently, it makes most sense to say that every person can be different in the way they can work towards the same goal. A few things work for me at this point and depending on my day, I would choose one from the following options:
Different people, different situations, different inclinations. We embrace all that. So, what are you most inclined to? There is no right or wrong... the only goal is achieving stillness in mind and spirit. The only way you can judge is the degree of peace you feel after.
When you take the time to walk around the city, you realize how big the world is... yet you also realize how small it can be if you remain to be contained in a bubble. It's so easy to get lost or feel lost - it's easy to feel scared or get scared. This life can present itself some grand questions with few answers. How do we contend with the constant ambiguity and vagueness of life ?
The road to authenticity is indeed one that may be less travelled yet also be the same road worth travelling. To stay grounded, it is important to take the time to be with yourself. In those moments, it is also most important to find stillness. I know this to be true. Since my last post, I have spent a great deal of time just stopping... finding space between my ears. When we begin to notice the pause in between breaths, the pause in between thoughts... we are well set on our way to finding stillness. Here's a tip, the only way you can measure your success is through the degree of peace you feel after taking that moment to stop.
There are many ways to achieve this. This is how I do it:
First, I find a place where I can sit undisturbed. As soon as I am settled, I start to breathe in through my nose and feel the breath down to my lower abdominals. It is important to feel that air pass through the body, noticing the raising of our chest and the expansion in our ribs. Once I have the rhythm, I slowly close my eyes and stay in that space for a moment. As I breathe in and out, I turn up my senses to notice the sounds around me, the sensations I feel - the weight of my body against the floor, my hand resting on my thighs, the way my body feels in space. When you get there, you know you're in the moment. I rest in this stillness and notice any emotions that come up. I don't have to name it, I just need to feel it in my body. I know that when I am feeling angry, I feel it right in the pit of my stomach. When I feel sad, I feel a pressure on my heart. It is important to acknowledge these emotions and allow them to pass through us because that is when we truly feel our spirits being quenched. Trust me, you will come out stronger at the end of it. Once you begin to notice these feelings in your body, just send your breath to that area. You can place your hand on it and send messages of love to yourself. It works so beautifully because when we treat ourselves with compassion, we will begin to notice the space between the pain and the clarity. We then have the strength to separate from the intensity and just know that the feelings are present. It's like the clouds amidst the clear blue sky. As you end this moment of stillness (or meditation), remember to send gratitude and set an intention to find this space throughout the day.
Looking inward requires us to be intentional every moment of our lives. For some of these moments, I managed to muster the courage to face the truth about my life, but to be honest, I only did so when it was easy. I only allowed myself to be vulnerable to a certain extent, when it still falls within my comfort zone. I am not sure what it is about being vulnerable that scares me, but I know that the need to face up is shining a light on the darkness that lurks in my life. It takes bravery to come out and take the step towards authenticity. And while I am just wavering back and forth, I figured this space will be the best place to begin the thought process that will eventually push me into action.
Pausing... it seems simple yet I know that for the most part of my life, I have been trying to elude the stillness that is begging to just be. Even if I have practiced 21 days of prayer and fasting for the past 4 years of my life, those moments were so filled with the activities that fill my mind. Contemplating, planning, reminiscing, hoping... Those moments were never about just being still. This year, I began a practice of stillness. I am slowly gaining an awareness that is so powerful that it compels me to PAUSE.
There are so many questions we ask about life, hoping we would find the answers to - but if we keep looking outward, we will never find them. The answers lie within us, we just need to listen.
I am embracing this uneasy feeling for the purpose of being in the moment. I am really glad to have this time to write about this. I am not sure which way to go, I just know that this space has been waiting for many years... and I'll allow this to just be and see where it takes me.
I am a lover of life, beauty, and vitality. I believe that we are creators of our own reality. It is important that our thoughts, feelings, speech, and actions reflect our true, essential nature. Through stillness, we can find our true selves. My desire is to share the journey into myself in the hopes of creating a space that connects with others who find themselves on the same path. I hope that you will find inspiration in this place.