Photograph by Michelle Levey
Be Open, Be Clear, Be Aware
Just Be Aware And Your Awareness WiIl Let You See What Is Happening
You can create a physiological response through your imagination and this is both a gift and a curse. You can weave a narrative that sends you away from rational thinking into fight or flight, a primitive state of survival or you can activate your imagination to comfort yourself. You can instantly quiet the nervous system though by-passing the thinking brain and going right to your senses, sending calm into the body, sending safety to the nervous system. The body doesn’t know the difference between what is imagined and what is real.
Meditation is learning to relax the mind within itself. It’s a kind and open hearted practice of drawing your mind inward, rather than letting it be externally motivated. It can be described as moments in your life when you are not thinking or analyzing your experience; moments of just "going with the flow". In these moments there is no past or future, no separation between you and what is happening. Your whole being loves to be in this state of being relaxed and alert at the same time. It allows you to respond more creatively and you are better able to find harmony with the way things are.
Although having a meditation practice calls for on-going effort, the rewards are great! You will suffer less when you “catch” the wily ways of your mind. You truly are not your thoughts and meditation lets you witness the non-stop stream running through your head. Each day your mind produces around 61,000 thoughts and 80% are repetitive. The good news is that with consistent practice, your relationship to these thoughts and feelings can truly shift and change.
When you meditate regularly, you are more likely to find calm during challenging times and get better at catching when the mind plays tricks on you. Like learning any skill, practicing meditation takes commitment and fortitude. When you practice meditation, expect the mind to resist settling down and when you are experiencing challenging circumstances, know that the mind has a tendency to trigger the stress response.
Don’t let routinized thoughts take control.You are larger than the narratives produced by you mind. Trust in heart-fulness and mind-fulness. Interestingly, it’s the same word in most languages; two wings of the same bird.
During our classes this summer we will experience ways to stop and drop into the moment and ways to de-escalate our own inner panic. This is do-able! You grow your way into this by dropping into your felt sense of being and listening to your heart. There is no benefit to automatically believing your thoughts. First hold them in awareness before believing them. Awareness is a greater intelligence than thinking.
Scroll below to see three generations of meditators. Who do you think is most easily and naturally in a state of open and spacious awareness?