Suffering. While it is something that we all must endure as human beings, there is something so baffling about the way we hold onto, and create, suffering that is familiar. I don’t like to think that I’ve created suffering for myself, but if I’m being completely honest I realize that I have. Maybe you’ve done this… gone over and over something in your head, trying to figure out what went wrong, what you could have done differently, wishing you could go back in time and fix it. By worrying, we needlessly create suffering for ourselves. We know there is no going back, only the here and now, and only the hope of another day to go forward… yet we continue to allow the mind to worry, giving the only thing that we actually possess – the present moment – away to the power of fear.
Thoughts and feelings are complex parts of our human makeup, and we can easily make the mistake of taking them as truth or being consumed by them. But the truth is, you can control your thoughts and you don’t have to let them control you. Meditation can help.
I recently came back from spending almost a month at Kalani, an amazing retreat center near the ocean on the big island of Hawaii. If you haven’t been to Hawaii…what are you waiting for? It’s absolutely breathtaking and there is so much to see. There’s this thing called Hawaiian time…it’s at a much slower pace than Dallas time. Things get done when they get done, there is no sense of hurry and urgency. It’s refreshing to not feel pressured or rushed. Before I left for Hawaii I felt weighed down by life, mostly past experiences and choices. Coming back home, I feel light, hopeful and optimistic. I learned to go with the flow (something I thought I already knew how to do).
While in Hawaii I spent a lot of time meditating and practicing letting go. If you’ve been to any of my retreats you know that letting go is one of my favorite topics; I believe that letting go of anything (good, bad, indifferent) makes room in your life for new possibilities and opportunities…for exactly what it is you need. Eyes open, watching the waves pound the lava rocks noticing the brilliant blue of the sky and the mesmerizing action of the water, I was completely present and aware. Eyes closed, I would meditate on the things in my life that I needed to let go of, I found awareness of the suffering I had been creating for myself.
Meditation is a powerful tool and there are many physical and mental benefits. It is a practice that is simple and easy to incorporate into your life. It doesn’t require any special equipment or any great skill. It simply requires you.
How to Begin Your Meditation Practice
Find a quiet place at home, work or outside (my favorite)
Set the timer on your phone for five minutes…gradually working up to longer….or not.
Sit comfortably, move and adjust your position if you need to.
Focus on a word, color, mantra (phrase), prayer.
When you get distracted, bring yourself back to your breath and then refocus.
- When the timer goes off, ease back to your routine, taking the sense of peace, calm and focus you discovered.
Other Meditation Ideas
Maybe a walking meditation works better for you, where you focus on your surroundings. Maybe you get a meditation app or use another tool. Maybe your yoga practice is your meditation. Use what works for you. The key is to be present and aware. When distractions present themselves, practice letting them go and bringing your awareness back to the present moment without frustration, judgment or discouragement. If you notice that you are stumbling over obstacles in your meditation practice, here are some tips.
This spring, find your new beginning by embarking on a journey of meditation. You’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.
If you need help beginning your meditation practice, we’re here to help, check out our first Meditation Retreat on June 26-28. We also practice meditation at all of our retreats, view our upcoming retreats to see what works for your schedule.