Uncertainty is hard. As a general rule of thumb, we humans hate it. We want to KNOW. We want a timeline, facts- most of us crave the black and white. And never has this been more difficult to discern than right now. Everything is up in the air. Even though restrictions are lifting, the amount of variation is staggering. And regardless of what you are being told is ok…which also varies greatly… how do you individually feel? Are you ready to not wear a mask? To dine in a restaurant? To go to a party? If not now, when will you be ready? There is no single, easy, straight forward answer to these questions.
One of my personal challenges has always been a deep and abiding need for control. I had absolutely none during my childhood, so as soon as I was able, I decided that the way to keep myself safe was to control every aspect of my life. The only problem is that this is impossible! So I spent many years at war with life itself. Trying to control the uncontrollable, and constantly being knocked off kilter when the inevitable happened and unwanted change occurred.
And then, I found meditation. I don’t talk about it a lot in these newsletters- of course I always mention the group meditation meetings, but as I think of it now I’m realizing that it’s been a while since I’ve talked about why meditation is such an important part of my life. One of the many reasons it’s a constant non-negotiable is that it has allowed me to let go (mostly) of this need for control. Through meditation, I’ve been able to relax into the uncertainty and accept change with more grace.
This isn’t something I “learned” to do. There was no guidebook, no “how to”, no directions to follow in order to release this trait… it just happened as I developed and grew my awareness through meditation. It used to be that I handled a change of plans very poorly- if someone altered things on me last minute it would send me off into a bad mood for days…to the point where dear friends of mine were afraid of how upset I would get if they needed to cancel a get together! Spontaneity was absolutely unacceptable. Life needed structure and a routine in order to be safe- and heaven help the person who messed with my idea of what that looked like.
And then one day a few months after I had begun meditating, a friend needed to reschedule lunch and I realized it only took me a day to get over it. And then it was a few hours. And then it was just a few minutes. And all of a sudden a few months ago, Chuck made a last minute suggestion for us to go to the zoo… while we were in the car already and heading somewhere else, no less… and I responded immediately “Let’s do it!”. He later commented “Way to not be yourself”… which sounds snarky but is actually his very loving way of complementing me on my new found ability to pivot so quickly!
This ability to loosen the reins, to let go of this need for control, stems out of the faith I have developed through meditation. I don’t speak of this in a religious context, but a spiritual one. I now trust that things will be ok, even if they don’t go exactly as I planned. I trust that life is happening for me, not to me. I trust that there is a divine order that I’m not necessarily privy to.
The quote that I used at the beginning of this newsletter comes from an article written by Richard Rohr, whom I have come to admire and respect. You can read the full article here. From his perspective as a Franciscan priest, he talks about connecting to the unified field of consciousness- the place from which sages and physicists alike agree everything arises. Connection to this source enables us to connect to faith- as Thomas Merton writes “This is the contemplative’s unique access point: knowing by union with a thing, where we can enjoy an intuitive grasp of wholeness, a truth beyond words, beyond any need or capacity to prove anything right or wrong.” Let me be clear that I’m not pushing any religious perspective or belief system, but I found this particular writing resonated deeply with me, and obliquely explains why meditation can create such profound growth. If you would be interested in diving deeper into this topic of how meditation can help a person develop faith and trust in the unknown, please let me know as I’m thinking of running a workshop on it in the near future.
I’ve never been more grateful for this part of my personal growth and this faith I have developed than I am now, as we’ve lived in this continued place of unknowing for weeks on end.
Let me be clear- I’m tired of it, too. I want cold hard facts, too. I want to know when it will be “over”; I want to know without a shadow of a doubt that it’s “safe”. I want all of those things, and some days I am so very, very, frustrated by all the gray. Black and white, PLEASE!
But most of the time, it’s ok. Most of the time, I’m able to roll with it. And every single day I get my meditations in because nothing in this world helps me find peace more quickly or to such depths as this practice.
And so, I wanted to use this newsletter to urge you to meditate. Many of you have already learned Heart Based Meditation, but some of you have not. Now is a great time to start! I wanted to also let you all know that the structure for learning Heart Based Meditation has changed, and encourage those of you who have already participated in the training to do so again because of these changes.
The training is now spread out over four days (instead of two) and woven throughout are more integration and enhancement techniques, as well as more detailed information regarding consciousness and why meditating with this form of meditation is so transformative. Some of this I typically include in the “Deepening Your Practice” workshop that I’ve previously run, however there is new material that would make it worthwhile for those who have taken the training previously. The founder of this method of meditation, Dr. Paul Dugliss, has long taught the training over four consecutive weeks, however I’ve resisted up until now because I know how busy our lives can be and how challenging it is to set aside time this way. That said, at a recent continuing ed class I was convinced that, while it may be more of a challenge, overall the benefits of having continued support during the entire first month of incorporating Meditation into your daily life far outweighs the disadvantages.
The four days are structured like so:
- Day 1 will cover the Why and How of Heart Based Meditation.
- Day 2 will give you a refinement to the practice and cover Experiences in and out of Meditation.
- Day 3 will go over in more detail how consciousness works, and give you additional integration and enhancement techniques.
- Day 4 will give you a vision of the possibilities of systemic life change you can expect with continued and consistent meditation.
You MUST take Days 1 and 2 a week apart- you are not fully trained until you’ve had these two days. If you must wait until the next session to take Days 3 and 4, you can, but I discourage it and strongly suggest you keep going with the training four weeks in a row. The month of support will give you the highest chance of success feeling confident in the method and will help you stick with it while you establish this new habit. I frequently say how lucky I feel that I came to meditation through becoming an Ayurvedic practitioner- I was required to meditate for 200 hours in order to graduate my program! If it weren’t for that, I can’t imagine how long it would have taken me to be consistent with my practice, and I am continuously grateful that I had such a strong reason to keep going.
Let me also reiterate that this would be excellent for anyone who has already taken the course. I cover so much in those two days, and I find that as time passes it can be a little like telephone- are you actually remembering the nuances of the method correctly?
The next Heart Based Meditation training begins this Saturday at 9am. To find more details and to register, click here.
If you can’t make it this time around, don’t worry- I’m sure to offer it again. I would love feedback on what day and time would work better for you if Saturday mornings don’t. Weeknight? Sunday afternoon? Weekday morning? Let me know your thoughts!
Please let me know if you have any questions. I hope you are all doing well and look forward to seeing some of you next weekend!
Sending you all so much Love & Light,