“The mind is like water. When it’s turbulent, it’s difficult to see. When it’s calm, everything becomes clear.”
Life can be overwhelming, stressful, confusing and full of distractions. Most of us are exhausted and we live in a constant state of fear and anxiety wondering how we can find the balance and happiness we long for. We want more peace, fulfillment, joy and love in our lives, yet those things seem to always be just outside of our reach. We yearn to love and be loved in that pure unconditional way that we know is possible. We want to be more fully present to enjoy our work and the precious moments we have with our loved ones. And we want to make the important decisions of our lives from a calm, centered place of knowing what’s right for us.
However, for so many reasons, we might find ourselves stuck in an unfulfilling and frustrating loop of survival mode. Maybe we have a deep sense that happiness is possible, but getting there seems impossible. And so we constantly search and grasp at distractions, people and substances – hoping to find “that thing” or “the one” that will make us feel better, make us happy, fulfill our needs and complete us.
“Don’t let the concept of change scare you as much as the prospect of remaining unhappy.”
In my own deep dive of self-discovery over past many years, and as a regular meditator for the past 15, I can distill what I’ve learned down to this – the quality of my life is determined by the quality of my own inner landscape. That may sound trite, but it really is a beautiful piece of truth. I found the single most powerful tool was actually available to me all the time and turns out it was also the most simple.
The best things usually are.
I have found the courage within to move beyond my childhood experiences, traumas and limiting beliefs of who I believed I was and what I thought I was capable of achieving. It taught me how to be patient with myself and love myself on the deepest level possible – a type of love I could never find in another person (and trust me, I tried!).
At its core, meditation is the simple yet profound practice of awakening to our most primary self. This resulting personal awareness has given me the ability to accept setbacks with more grace and be at more ease with who I am in a world that is constantly telling me to strive to be something else.
Meditation is a powerful antidote to modern life and the beautiful thing is, over time, we can become our own inner gurus. That’s when authentic change really begins. Suddenly, you aren’t relying on the latest Instagram personality to point you in the right direction, you are tuning into yourself and living from your own unique frequency. This is the type of sustainable growth I want for all of us.
And so what does being mindful even mean? It sounds so esoteric and maybe even a bit “woo-woo” however, it’s simply about becoming aware. Aware and awake. Awake to what? Awake to the truth of you. It’s also a long-running and honest self-inquiry. This mindful awareness is the powerful by-product of meditation that infuses our lives with calm and balance.
“All forms of meditation strengthen and direct our attention through the cultivation of three key skills – concentration, mindfulness, and compassion or loving kindness.”
In meditation, we don’t simply banish our thoughts, we become the observer of them by creating a living connection to that presence inside each of us. A connection that we nurture every time we sit and practice. Quite naturally, an awareness begins to rise to the surface. At last we can at last begin to untangle the wires of our mind. We can then chose to give meaning to some thoughts/ideas/beliefs and we can decide that others aren’t serving us.
An important realization hits us: we are not our thinking minds, and we can actually choose what and how we are going think. This type of rewiring of the brain, begins to effect great change in the quality of our lives. Suddenly we have a clarity that before eluded us. We operate more from a place of calm, and experience less reactive emotions. Most importantly, our decisions become those that truly serve our deepest desires.
“Stillness is not about focusing on nothingness; it’s about creating an emotional clearing to allow ourselves to feel, think, dream and question.”
Liberation begins with simply knowing we need to make a change.
The good news is, true transformation is an organic unfolding that happens in its own right timing. Through meditation, you simply and effortlessly change without efforting to change. And consequently, everything around you begins to subtly, but powerfully, shift. I liken this process to some beautiful form of grace.
Like a flower, it doesn’t try to bloom, it just blooms.
This is simply the beginning of what I hope is a long conversation about meditation and living mindfully. I will endeavor to add more and more useful content and meditations to this section as we go along.