As humans we all share this in common, we desire happiness, joy, and connection with others. Life is ever-changing and we all experience many emotions and thoughts in a day. There was a time when I would judge, the not so liked or “bad” ones and try to avoid and push them away. As I began to get into meditation/mindfulness, I thought that I would practice in order to clear my mind of all of that. I guessed wrong! If anything, I became more aware of all of them. With mindfulness meditation more attention is paid to thoughts, emotions and body sensations.
I have been listening to the podcast, “The Way Out Is In,” hosted by Jo Confino and Brother Phap Huu of Plum Village. The latest episodes are titled, “The Heart of Meditation.”
They discuss ways to tune into the present moment, sit with oneself without judgement, and pay attention inwardly.
I personally have become concerned with not only today’s youth, but society and how social media has and is effecting all of us. In this world of social media , you tend to see only the good, everything and everyone seem to be happy, and things appear to be perfect. When we don’t feel like that, we can think “what is wrong with me, why don’t I feel like this or that ?”
Not to be a downer, but when I see news stories about someone hurting others, themselves, violence, destruction, etc…… I wonder to myself have we taught ourselves and others how to deal with “these emotions such as pain, hurt, despair, grief, etc..…..?”
I will share this story with you and how I had pushed away feelings of grief and loss. I had a miscarriage in between my older and youngest daughter’s births. I won’t get into details, but it was a traumatic experience due to the shock of it all and the procedures I had to go through. Once I got past that, I jumped back into the routine of life and honestly didn’t face the emotions that were lingering there and that wanted my attention. When my schedule had slowed down, I will never forget waking up one morning and feeling as if there was a weight of a car on top of my chest and I felt like I couldn’t move. That honestly was the beginning of a rebirth for myself. I needed to tune in and face those emotions-that darkness in order for growth to occur. Easy? No, but I have learned that when I leaned in and allowed myself to listen and offer compassion and love to myself and these emotions then healing could begin.
I come back to the point that we all desire happiness, joy, and connection to one another.
I believe in order to achieve that, we must tune in. It’s not so easy sometimes as the light and dark come together. Our protective natures want to run away from anything that feels threatening to our safety. However, when we begin to do so growth starts to happen. We can learn and see patterns that we tend to follow. With open minds and hearts, we can learn to have a new approach to life’s challenges and suffering. Our hearts must remain open-vulnerable. We learn to first offer ourselves compassion and love and then we can do the same for others.
How can we use mindful meditation to tune in?
Simply begin to notice your breath
-As we begin to tune into our breath, the mind and body begin to connect.
-You may notice feelings arising, thoughts, etc…Let them be don’t judge them, don’t give them a story. Just acknowledge them, name them, let them be and pass.
-If they are difficult ones, breathe into them deeply. It’s all energy and it will move through you.
-Send compassion and love to those emotions and embrace them fully.
-Begin to accept peace and calm.
Thich Nhat Hanh on the Practice of Mindfulness
Breathing in, I know I am breathing in.
Breathing out, I know I am breathing out.
Breathing in, I notice my in-breath has become deeper.
Breathing out, I notice that my out-breath has become slower.
Breathing in, I calm myself.
Breathing out, I feel at ease.
Breathing in, I smile.
Breathing out, I release.
Breathing in, I dwell in the present moment.
Breathing out, I feel it is a wonderful moment.
This can be quite challenging at first, but release that urge to judge. The goal isn’t to have this perfectly clear mind. We are just trying to be an observer, to be the awareness behind it all. Just take notice of what is, embrace it, and send it some love and compassion. In the podcast, “The Way Out Is In,” Brother Phap Huu mentions how Thich Nacht Hanh talked about imagining people having special breathing/sitting rooms in our homes like we have gyms/workout rooms etc…. A place where we dedicated time to ourselves, listening to ourselves, and just sitting and doing nothing. So maybe we don’t need a special room, but the wonderful thing is that we can do mindful meditation anywhere. If we can focus on our breath, tune into the body, be present with what we are doing, find space/pause and then voil`a you are doing it. My hopes are that with some practice this can help you find some peace, freedom, and to simply “Be.”
Wishing you Peace, Joy, and much love,