After a long respite, I am sharing with you a new 23 minute guided meditation. In this practice, we take time to feel into both the objects within our experience, and to rest in the space through which these objects come and go. The objects may be the sounds in our environment, the sensations and breath in our body or the passing of emotions and dialogues. Often the objects obscure the spaciousness that is eternally here now, very much like the clouds that obscure the vastness of the sky. We are the finite parts within an infinite and vast essence. In practice and life we find ourselves in a dance between the two.
You may choose to practice in any posture that allows you to feel at ease, seated on the floor, in a chair or even reclining. There is no right or wrong way for practice to unfold so enjoy and savor the time to slow down and deepen.
I am happy to share that I am partnering with local Austin teacher, Karlie Lemos, to offer a weeklong yoga and meditation retreat in Tulum, Mexico in March of 2018. This time will be an opportunity to slow down, simplify and restore. As we take time to fall away from the busyness of our lives and the drive of our roles and responsibilities, we can begin to retreat within, nourish and gently align with our heart’s calling.
We have chosen a retreat space that rests directly on the shores of Tulum and will be private, limited to a small group of about sixteen. We hope this combination will allow for nourishment, warmth of community and nature. We will offer daily practices that will include meditation, deep relaxation (yoga nidra) and all levels yoga asana. You can set your agenda or have none at all , allowing the moment to guide and nourish you.
I am grateful to offer this experience alongside Karlie. If this resonates with what your heart has been calling for, I would love for you to join us.
A third of these spots have been reserved and a $300 discount will continue to be offered for a limited time. Below is the link for more detailed information on the retreat.
I am often reminded that while meditation is a practice, unlike many others, it is one of essentially doing nothing. In a fundamental way, it is the quality and experience of Being.
In the early days of exploration, I often felt that there were certain requirements that needed to be met for my practice to be considered a “good” meditation. The environment needed to be quiet. This meant that if my husband started grinding his coffee in the middle of my practice, it was no longer meditation. If my girls woke up and the chatter filtered into my space, again this was not meditation. In addition, I also thought that my mind needed to be more clear and settled, my heart open. The initial years of practice allowed me to see all the varied nature of requirements I had imposed upon myself, that were often not being met.
Then one morning, with the harsh grinding of the coffee maker and the sweet laughter of my girls, I was about to get up from my cushion in frustration when I realized that this was in fact the exact moment that I could practice. I could practice Being. I didn’t need to get up and I didn’t need to ask for quiet. Being meant that I could explore including and befriending the moment exactly as it was. As I sunk back into my cushion, I experienced a depth of calm that had no requirement of my situation. It was incredibly freeing. I realized meditation was in fact an exquisite experience of freedom. There were no expectations to adhere to, simply the opportunity to return to that ineffable essence of Being Presence. The mind could be full, life bubbling with stimulus and Presence still available.
So the next time you sit, remember nothing needs to change. You can arrive exactly as you are. Your environment and the world can remain exactly as it is. This moment is the perfect opportunity to realize the quiet peacefulness of Being. To many this can feel scary or uncomfortable, especially when a life circumstance is difficult or painful. It will even feel counterintuitive to let things be for a time. However, don’t mistake Being to mean that we passively resign to things as they are. In fact, this is the birthplace of a wisdom so deep and unconditioned that we may later find ourselves moving and creating in the world with a sense of alignment, clarity and purpose.
It can feel similar to being immersed in the ocean, waters turbulent, at times calm. There may be periods of life where we are struggling against the currents, wishing that life was different. At some point, we grow weary of the struggle, left with no choice but to let go and let be. It almost feels like leaning back for a time and allowing the waves to carry us. In the meantime something settles. An abiding calm begins to surface. It is from this place that something magical can arise. There may be a point when the waves once again grow strong and full, directed and alive. Simultaneously, something within begins to feel so right that it cannot be denied. From the calm, an inner strength, a clarity of effort and purpose combines with the vitality of the currents already flowing. We find that we are swimming in the direction the universe has been pointing us toward, at least for some time.
This human experience is one of finding our way and at times losing it, remembering who we are and then forgetting. It is as beautiful as it can be heart wrenching. For all of this, I am grateful.
p.s. If you would like a guided practice of Simply Being, you might try this meditation I shared a few weeks ago.
People think karma is what happens to you. Mostly, karma is your unconscious reaction to what happens. And your reaction to what happens now determines what happens next. Often situations that would for some people be relatively insignificant, in others trigger an enormous reaction. They trigger their karma.
Freedom from reaction is the freedom from karma. And that is Presence. That is the gradual fading out of karma, of all the inherited, all the old patterns that one carries inside. Eckhart Tolle
I appreciate this view on karma and its relation to practices like meditation. That which lies unconscious and unseen will control the way we meet life. This is where meditation, whether in the form of relaxation or inquiry, has been vital to me. It has awoken me a little more fully into my felt experience, in other words the sensations in my body. Why is this important you may ask? When I get triggered unconsciously, often there is a strong outer dialogue running. They tend to be of a defensive or an offensive nature. Often the dialogues are narrow, limiting my view of myself or another and repetitive. The force of these dialogues also keeps me at a distance from the depth of experience that lies beneath them and within the body.
Recently when I felt triggered in a relationship, even while I was in the midst of a charged conversation, I could feel a sense of pressure, tension and heat rising. I could feel that I was carrying more than what I was revealing in the conversation. There was a clear sense that what was arising was old and this moment was somehow triggering it. If I had only listened to my dialogue, there would have been no room for this deeper recognition.
As I consciously stepped away from the conversation for some time, I gave myself the day to feel the truth of what was coming up. In navigating the mix of emotion and sensation, the initial dialogues fell away and landed closer to the heart of deeper longing and vulnerability. Riding the waves of sensation, more than believing every passing dialogue, is what allowed me to feel a little more awake and to move a little closer to what wanted to be revealed.
The beauty of this is that as we wake up to ourselves, we will simultaneously begin to wake up to the experience of others. They happen together. Wakefulness does not discriminate between my experience and yours. It holds both equally and tenderly. Understanding, intuitive knowing, clarity of being and doing all arise from here. Dialogues can begin to feel more sincere, skillful and compassionate. It can still be messy as we merge back into our human relationships and we may even find that we need to work through our material many times before they are free to leave us.
I don’t know that I will ever relieve myself of all karma. As much as I may dissolve, I know I humanly accumulate along the way as well. Still I hope to keep my eyes and heart open and sincere to my ways, a little and often, everyday.
Our self image and ideas about experience that are fueled by the mind alone can tend to be narrow, often negative and recursive. This is a part of our shared human experience. However, we are more than our mind. There is also something more essential in our Being that is free of the dialogues of good and bad, enough and not enough. This open essence is also a portal into our creativity, potential and wisdom.
A simple practice that you can weave into your day often is to feel the sensations in your body, perhaps in your palms, across your heart or belly. Feel the aliveness of your direct experience, right now, that is resting beneath the layers of dialogue and concepts.
We cannot feel our sensory experience and think at the same time. This simple practice can slowly uncover a glimpse of space in your day, an innate spaciousness that has room for something fresh, something new.
If this resonates, give it a try for a week and explore how it lands in your own experience.