Last Easter, my daughter extended an unusual invitation to me. Instead of going to church for Easter Mass, she invited me to come along with her to a Zen Buddhist temple to spend the morning in meditation. It was a wonderful idea and I accepted immediately. It was an exciting notion to commune with God on Easter morning in a new and different way.
I liked the idea of meditating at the temple. I liked the idea of meditating with others, somewhat hoping to be pulled along into their collective current of silence and inner peace. I hadn’t had much luck meditating on my own, even though I tried it for years: sitting in uncomfortable silence, repeating mantras, staring into lit candles, and listening to meditative music. On a whole, it’s all been quite frustrating. With no external distractions, my mind doesn’t get quiet; instead it lights up like a Christmas Tree. My inner chatter starts probing everything and interfering with the silence I long to create. Is it really supposed to be this difficult?
What I’m discouraged to find in meditation is that my mind is actually not that interesting a place, after all. I really only think of a few things, and I think about them constantly. It usually involves my closest relationships, work or the lack-there-of, mistakes I’ve made, mistakes they’ve made…It really isn’t that pleasant. When I sit in silence and look at my mind, it is only questions of longing and control that emerge to frustrate me, and this frustration is what keeps me from achieving the peacefulness and connectedness I long for. It wasn’t any easier that Easter Sunday at the Zen temple. I left there knowing that the traditional ways of meditating weren’t working for me, and that I needed to find a better way.
That was a year ago. I still have a ways to go in quieting my mind; but since then, I discovered that there are other ways to create stillness within. I found that walking outside alone is meditative. The fresh air clears my mind, and I notice how calm and restored I am when I get back home. To my surprise, I discovered that cleaning the house and doing dishes is meditative. I think it comes from the repetitiveness of the motions that is comforting. But this peacefulness only comes about when I’m in the house alone. If I’m arguing with the kids about doing their own chores while I do mine, it kind of defeats the purpose.
But my favorite way of meditating comes in the morning. It’s during that time when I’m not quite awake. It’s when my mind is aware, but my body is still heavy in sleep. It’s when my Spirit feels light and anything seems possible. What is it that I do? I think about the people I love. And I bring forth the feeling of being fully enveloped in love. Glowing with love. I think about the things I’m grateful for. And I bring forth the feelings of being enveloped in deep gratitude. I glow with gratitude. And while I’m wrapped in love and gratitude, I think of the good things I want to bring into my life. I think of the things I want to do with my life. And then – this is the most important part – I make these intentions known to the Universe. I whisper them to God.
Rhonda Byrne, author of The Secret and The Power, believes everything that comes into your life is because you are attracting it into your life. And it’s attracted to you by the virtue of the images you’re holding in your mind. And stating your intentions to the Universe shifts the Law of Attraction into high gear. So, if we change our thoughts, we change our lives. Or more to the point, if we fill ourselves with love and send our intentions out into the Universe, the Universe must oblige and make it happen. On our part, we have to be open to whatever form the Universe decides to present it to us. I’ve been delightfully surprised by what has been appearing in my life since I began this morning ritual. The first week, I found a note on my windshield from someone who, believe it or not, accidentally put their tabs on MY license plates when I was parked next to their car. The note explained what happened and that reimbursement wasn’t needed. People have also been showing up in my life unexpectedly at just the right times lately, and work has been blessedly coming in pretty regularly.
This way of meditating has become such a beautiful way to start my morning. I focus this love and gratitude on myself, the people I love, the people I struggle with, the place I hold in the present, and the future I hope to have. My heart swells, my emotions become light, and I feel like I actually glow from the inside, out. And the best part, is that I carry this light feeling with me throughout the day. I’m vibrating on a different harmonic level and it’s mending my soul. I think we have a duty as human beings to find something beautiful within life, no matter how slight. And it’s in these moments, I commune with God.
- How to enjoy Life? (zentocoach.wordpress.com)