If true spiritual growth and satisfaction came from mastering difficult yoga poses, most of us would experience enlightenment only in our dreams.
Real yoga wants us to wake up.
It tells us to awaken and stop moving through our life as sleepwalkers, caught up in the dream that what we see is the only reality that exists.
This "sleepwalker" syndrome is the source of our persistent feeling that something is missing. And there is. There is a G - A - P between our current life experience and our life as we want and hope it to be.
Deep yoga practices (not just toe touching) show us exactly how to fix this. And then, bit by bit, the GAP closes and life becomes more vivid and satisfying.
What are the those yoga practices?
Meditation, inner listening, self inquiry and mindfulness practices are the tools we use to become more present.
I would like to share with you exactly how to use these four tools in daily living so you can finally feel better.
Refresh Your Mind with Inner Listening
Your mind has two main functions, thinking and awareness. Simply shifting from thinking into awareness allows the mind to reboot.
You don’t have to wait until you have 20 - 30 minutes to sit in quiet meditation. You can sprinkle in short periods of mind rest during the day. When your mind does rest, even for a period as short as three breaths, it can become refreshed and clear.
Rest your mind often during the day.
Take three breaths.
Ask the inner voices to be silent.
Open all your senses and just be aware - color, sound, touch and smell.
Get into the habit of refreshing your mind and soul by associating this three breath inner listening with a common activity such as opening your computer, washing your hands or turning on your phone.
Relieving Anxiety with Self Inquiry
When your car skids on ice, you are just experiencing it as it occurs, often vividly and in slow motion. You are fully in the present moment. The fear and anxiety come later.
Sustaining anxiety depends on thoughts. When anxiety is present, usually there are underlying thoughts and beliefs.
To unwind the clutching fingers of anxiety from your heart, find a way to switch from thinking to experiencing.
HELPFUL: Feel the sensation that you call anxiety in your body and then relabel it as just ENERGY. Think of it as potential creative energy, not negative energy. Where can you direct it?
Several times a day, pause briefly to see if anxiety is present within you.
Feel the energy as pure sensation in your body without labeling it.
Notice the thoughts attached to the feeling and journal about them.
Sensitize yourself to become aware of anxiety. When does it arise?
These action steps of INNER LISTENING and SELF INQUIRY are great tools but
MEDITATION WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE.
I know meditation can be scary, overwhelming and confusing for many of us. So let's relax and take it to the movies.
Meditation at the Movies
The analogy of going to the movies parallels (in a weird way) the experience of meditation.
The first step to go to the movies is deciding that you are going.
Next, you choose which movie to see and get your tickets.
Then, after getting your popcorn, you find your seat. You are aware of the popcorn you’re eating, the temperature in the theater and the chatting people around you. (Hopefully not annoying.)
As the show starts, you have an underlying sense of expectation. "What will it be like? What will my experience be?"
How is this like meditation?
Just like your movie experience is a holistic experience, your meditation experience will flow from one element to another and back again. This flow consists of 4 elements:
It is a journey and process.
As you meditate, imagine that 25% of your experience is Presence, just deciding to go sit down and meditate is a big deal. No matter what happens next, you've won.
Then another 25% of your experience is the Technique, or the type of meditation you have chosen to do, such as breath or mantra focus.
For the best experience, you don’t jump from technique to technique, you stay with one. Just like you wouldn’t jump around to other movies at the theater. (Well, usually not….)
During your meditation, you remain aware of thoughts, sounds, sensations, urges and ideas. It's not a trance and there is nothing passive about it! This Awareness is another 25% or so of your experience.
I believe that Expectation is an important element in the practice of meditation. Because every meditation is unique. When you cultivate a sense of “What will it be like for me today?” you will get the most from your practice.
Expect and allow anything; insights, distractions, a soulful connection with yourself, frustration or peace. It is your journey, and everything about it is perfect.
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Enjoy the show
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