As much as I love Meditation, and have personally experienced profound benefit from the practice, it’s not a one stop shop. It’s not a magic pill that makes all the bad things in our life go away; all our “negative” character traits disappear. It doesn’t solve all our problems.
We still have to take responsibility for how we live our lives. We still have to do the work. Meditation can only take you so far- it can help quicken the change; ease the transformation… but it’s only one piece of the puzzle.
If we truly want to grow, we have to stop rolling in the mud. What do I mean by that? As I’ve said in trainings many times, meditation (to be clear, any automatic self transcending method like Heart Based Meditation- the other types do not do this to the same extent and take much longer to “work”) is a lot like taking a shower. It helps cleanse away impurities, wash away dysfunction, and allows us to see our way more clearly. It’s very much like going to a drive through carwash. We park the vehicle (our physical bodies), and then let the carwash do its thing… trusting that it’s getting rid of all the dirt and grime both where can see it and where it’s not so visible (like the undercarriage/our subconscious).
However, how much good does that do us if we spend all our days getting “unclean”? Going off-roading in the muck, so to speak. Eating foods that aren’t good for us. Spending time with toxic people. Watching newscast after newscast telling us the world is going to pot. Spending our days fostering anger towards others… perhaps understandable anger, but anger nonetheless (that’s a whole newsletter for another time). Not exercising. Ruminating on all the things we wish we were and hate we’re not. This is how we roll in the mud- this is how we negate any gains we make by meditating.
So even if you’re meditating twice a day religiously, that’s only 40 minutes (at most!) out of the 1,440 in a day. That’s a such a small percentage of your day spent using a tool to help you find a new way of being, with the rest spent running in the same hamster wheel you’ve always been on. That car you’re driving would still be dirty the majority of the time- one brief moment of shining clean as it drives away from the carwash, and then into the hills filled with muck.
The good news is that there are many simple, easy, small ways to work towards spending less time in the mud. You don’t have to all of a sudden start exercising for an hour every day… maybe just go for a ten minute walk after one meal. You don’t have to throw out all of your junk food… maybe just add in one seriously good for you snack or meal a day. You don’t have to stop watching the news altogether… but maybe limit it to one hour a day and have that hour be in the morning (not right before bed when you know it’s going to get you all riled up). Speaking of which- maybe you make it a priority to get at least seven hours of sleep every night, which is the absolute minimum every single person needs (according to many, many studies that show less than this can be seriously detrimental to your overall health).
And more importantly than anything else- cultivate Love. It sounds insipid, I know. And there’s a small part of me that still cringes to stay something so mushy (decades of fearing vulnerability will do that to you)… but never was it more needed and true than right now. Remember that this doesn’t need to be the Love you have for a person. It could be Gratitude for things big and small. It could be the Passion you experience when talking about something you believe in (though please note there is an important difference between Passion and righteousness, one comes from the heart; the other from our mind- a whole other newsletter!). It could be Compassion for those less fortunate. It could be the Joy you feel when doing something like gardening. It could be the Peace you feel when having your coffee every morning listening to the birds sing.
Heart Centered Living combined with meditation WILL change your life. I have yet to find anything more powerful than being guided by my heart instead of my mind. I didn’t believe this to be true when I started meditating, but six years in to shifting to this way of operating I can tell you that I know it to be so. And even though I still have times of stress, anger, frustration, sadness, etc…. my way back to clarity and peace is exponentially faster than I ever thought it could be, and I can honestly say the majority of the time I find myself incredibly grateful and full of- dare I say it- bliss. And I’m not the only one.
Now, I stumbled my way to this taking the long way around and going through many ups and downs- so don’t think it’s been easy or like a switch being turned on. That said, there is support available if this way of being sounds appealing to you. The suggestions I listed above will all help, and below are a few more ideas. I encourage you to explore what resonates with you at this time.
And if this newsletter made you uncomfortable or turned you off? That’s ok, too. You can just meditate- it is still very worth it. You don’t have to want to be a body builder to do bicep curls. You don’t have to want to create systemic change in your life to want to find the stress alleviation that meditation brings. We all come to Meditation for different reasons, and get out of what we need…end of story.
As always, I’m here if you have questions, and I hope you are well.
Love & Light,