My ontological coach Lynn gave me a reading for my entrance to meditation called Muddy/Clear: the Mirror of the Water by Ira Prograff, it is a message of clarity and I can always use clarity. Basically when our thoughts are muddled and chaotic everything is fuzzy and we cannot see clearly. The same is true with muddy water, when the sediment is all churned up you cannot see through the water or get the whole picture. When we are all churned up we cannot clearly see any situation. If we can be still, turn off the chatter and just be, clarity manifests, just as when muddy water sits still the sediment settles back to the bottom and the water becomes clear and you can see, clarity appears.
I have been very aware of this reading and the message it conveys as I travel a newly discovered path in my life. Because this path is unknown to me I am both exhilarated and afraid. When fear takes over it is really easy to churn up the sediment, it’s also very easy for others to participate in churning up the sediment. When I am coming from a place of love the exhilaration kicks in and discipline and patience are present to bring forth clarity and peace. Right now I vacillate between muddy water then to stillness to settle the sediment and clear the waters. That’s where the patience comes in, coming from love not only applies to others but it applies to how we treat ourselves. I remember that I need to treat myself with loving kindness as well as the other souls I encounter each day. I know when other people hurt me it means they are hurting. So it is also true that the ability to love others reflects the ability to love ourselves.
Eckhart Tolle in The Power of Now so eloquently described – “Not to be able to stop thinking is a dreadful affliction, but we don’t realize this because almost everybody is suffering from it, so it is considered normal. This incessant mental noise prevents you from finding that realm of inner stillness that is inseparable from Being.” In other words all this noise and sediment is just a haze that is covering up our essence, our soul, our presence as conceived by God. I know I have a higher purpose here and through stillness and love I will find the path God has set forth so I am living from the highest of intention and purpose.
So beautiful readers go forth today in clarity and if you feel frazzled by your own thoughts or hurt by the thoughts of another just be still and present. Take three cleansing deep breaths and hold for a moment at the peak of the inhale and exhale. Look around you, notice your surroundings really see what surrounds you, where your feet are planted, without labeling any of it, just drink it in, take three more cleansing breaths. Ahhhhh how wonderful. Be still and you will know peace and love.
“It is the stillness that will save and transform the world.”
I had a very profound lesson last week on the power of well-being. I was having a very off day and even snapped at someone I care for very deeply and felt awful afterward. I was talking to a friend later in the day about what was going on and that I was feeling off. She asked me what was different this day than others, I struggled to find a reason for this sudden change in attitude.
As I was recounting my day I realized this was the first day in a very long time I did not start my day by meditating and playing my flute. I used to have this ritual in the morning I called my gratitude exercise, I would stand in the shower and give thanks for everyone that touched my life the day before either through physical interaction or if they popped into my head for some reason. I always began with the people who challenged me the most because I know they are there to teach me something I need learn, to be in this world. Eventually I morphed this ritual into a morning meditation, or some may say morning prayer. I now call it my “love and be loved” meditation because it so much more than gratitude. I not only thank God for the experience of learning from the people I have in my life, I concentrate and send them love, especially the people who challenge me. So on this recent day where I felt out of sorts, where a very small thing set me off, I realized I had not started my day choosing from love. It seems like such a small thing, but it makes such a huge difference and not only for me but for everyone I connect with as I travel through my day, and those I send love to during my meditation.
Since beginning my new meditation I have experienced changes in my life, miracles, as Marianne Williamson, describes them in her book, “A Return to Love” which are reflections on the book, “A Course in Miracles.” Through the religious instruction I was provided as a child I came to expect that miracles were these supernatural events that would rock the world make everyone stop and take note, they were so extraordinary they would leave you in awe. I have come to believe and appreciate that while those are miracles a miracle can also be a change in perspective, if you can change how you perceive things you are experiencing a miracle. It really is that simple and yet that profound. If you think about it what would the world be like if we all changed our perspective, and thought – what would love do here? Rather than reacting from fear, as we are encouraged to do by the preponderance of messages we receive, particularly during this presidential election season. We are not told to love one another, we are told to fear one another. That our choices should not be made through loving kindness, but fear. What does the “choose from fear” mentality create; chaos, pain, and anger. My intention is to choose from love, so it is not consistent with my intention to knowingly choose from fear, I do not want to be a part of that anymore.
I have been noticing when I feel that twinge in my body, that yucky feeling deep in the pit of my stomach when I hear or see something, and I start asking myself hmmm what is going on here? What are you afraid of? I then ask myself, what would love do here? Many times my natural response, typically fueled by my ego, is not in alignment with what love would do at all. It has been a humbling experience and many times I go on and react from fear, giving ego the driver’s seat and am not aware of it until after the fact. I know at that point all I can do is clean up what I can and move forward in this present moment staying in alignment with my intention of love and be loved and focus on being present.
Well, I had a moment of presence as I was typing this blog and I just took a break to go up and meditate, I realized, geez as I am writing about all this profound learning I received about the impact of missing my daily meditation I was going through my day AGAIN without beginning with meditation. Oh well I am a work in progress after all! Some days I feel like a little bit of Wayne Dyer mixed with a lot of Phyllis Diller, really that’s not so bad, a little intention mixed with a lot of laughs.
So what is my daily routine that helps stay in alignment with choosing from love; I smudge to cleanse my energy before meditating, I play my native american flute which fills me with humility and patience, and then I meditate with a focus on love. When I am complete, I have an overwhelmingly peaceful and harmonious sense of being.
Have you noticed how much easier it is to choose from love with a perfect stranger than with those closest to us? I remember seeing a quote by Maya Angelou – “
If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love. Don’t be surly at home, then go out in the street and start grinning good morning at total strangers.” It is very interesting that choosing from love is easy for me when it is someone I have no history with, however, choosing from love is more challenging with a loved one I am in conflict with. What I have come to know in my meditation is – if I loved then, I still love now, nothing has changed other than my perspective which is usually my ego reacting to not being in charge. What I believe happens is the ego is wounded and it wants to attack in order to protect me, the only problem is the protection the ego is giving me is a wolf disguised as a lamb. It’s telling me, it’s OK I am here to protect you against the bad people who are trying to destroy you, when in reality it is trying to destroy my essence, isolating me and closing my heart.
I have to practice great presence and awareness when I feel ego taking over, sometimes I am successful other times I am not, it is all part of the process of learning and gaining enlightenment. I have found choosing from love to be the most profound change I have experienced in my life. The more love I give, the more peace and harmony I experience as that love is returned many times over. So I invite you to ask yourself during times of strife – “what would love do?”
Your task is not to seek love, but to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it – Rumi
Over the last year I have done a lot of soul-searching, self discovery, accepting of those aspects of myself I was not very fond of, basically peeling back the layers. Like an onion some layers fell off easy, others I had to pry off while tears were streaming down my cheeks. All this work and learning how “to be” along this journey really comes down one very important practice, pausing. That’s right hitting the pause button. When you hit the pause button several things happen and more importantly many things don’t happen. What does happen, you stay present, what doesn’t happen, you don’t say or do something that is not in alignment with your intention. I am so amazed at how quickly a well-intentioned encounter goes awry if I don’t hit pause. I leave feeling like, what the heck just happened? I am amazed at how well things go when I do hit pause.
You all know what I am talking about, let’s talk about the time you went to talk to someone about something you thought was no big deal. You start the conversation and all of a sudden things get tense, maybe even confrontational. Rather than pausing and considering what is happening we react in a similar fashion. – Well screw you I came over to tell you we got some ice cream how the hell did I know you were lactose intolerant. No we didn’t get any sherbet. You know what I will make sure I never invite you to any parties we are having, you jerk. – Now let’s go through the same scenario and pause. Hmmm I told this guy we were having ice cream and he is really getting worked up, I feel my face getting flush and my heart is racing, isn’t that interesting. – You know I feel my face getting flush and my heart is racing because I am sensing this is an upsetting subject for you, listen my intention was to make sure you felt welcome to our celebration. Will the testy lactose intolerant dude defuse? Maybe, maybe not, the point is your fuse wasn’t lit. We can’t control how others “are being” along their journey, we can only chose for ourselves.
The pause is so powerful, many great philosophers and teachers think that when we meditate or pray, the pause between thoughts when one thought ends and before the next thought begins, is when we are closest to God. If you think about it, it really makes sense our thoughts are tied very tightly to our ego so the pause in our thoughts is when we have a direct line to our essence, and our ego is bypassed. When I make the choice to pause, to be mindful and become an observer of my own actions, it creates a calmness in my being. It sounds crazy but if I find myself starting to get spun up if I take a step back and witness what is happening I can stay present and mindful. I had a recent encounter where I wanted to get a point across and the person I was speaking to told me some negative traits about myself, it struck a nerve at first (ah hello Mr. Ego there you are) and then I paused yes they were correct I have these negative traits and I have positive traits that is what makes me whole (remember Mr. Ego we discussed this in detail a blog ago!) and that makes me like everyone else perfect. The exercise of hitting the pause button has helped me understand that my self-worth, as with everyone else’s, is intrinsic and not determined by others.
Hitting pause has helped me to be a better listener I find myself talking less and listening more. If you are like me or at least like I have been in my recent past, you may feel the need to talk when you walk in the room, the silence feels awkward, notice that impulse to fill the silence, pause be present, relax and enjoy the silence and think about only breaking the silence if value is added. It is a very powerful exercise. If you are a shy person and would never consider breaking the silence but sit in quiet suffering hoping another will break the silence, be present relax and enjoy the silence, you may feel less inhibited to break the silence if value is added. I love this quote by Abraham Lincoln – “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.” And what amazes me is he was such a great orator, of course as I said if you can add value then speak and if you have read the transcripts of his speeches and debates it was certainly true in his case. Of course in my own case I have on many occasions removed all doubt. The pause has helped me not only to avoid removing doubt but it has done more, I am, in very stressful situations, witnessing them, almost observing myself and the events.
Life is so much more interesting when you become the observer and not the actor. If you have ever been on a stage you know what I mean, the actors cannot see the audience, only what is happening on the stage, the audience on the other hand can observe the actors as well as the rest of the audience, they have a more complete picture of the moment. So the next time you lose your train of thought or forget your excellent comeback, just pause, don’t judge yourself and witness your thoughts, trust me you are seeing more, experiencing more than if you did get that awesome comeback, it’s powerful.
Mahatma Gandhi said “In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth.” Remember we are all on a quest for truth, how powerful. (pause).