Sometimes we find ourselves tense in situations without recognizing this is our body demonstrating our mental need to control circumstances. We certainly can’t control everything; especially, those occurring outside of ourselves!
Doesn’t it seem ironic how our body can naturally manifests that which resides in the mind? The more you tune in, the more you will recognize this – as well as, what you resist persists. Truly, we need only look for the answers inside of ourselves because we have everything we need and more.
Just as in breathing, if you find your breaths short and shallow, it means you’re stuck in your head. While longer
deep breaths tend to be more heart-centric and in the diaphragm, deep down in the belly.
Meditation takes time, patience, & routine practice. Anything you want to master needs to be repeated with focus and effort.
Relax, Release, & Relinquish Control
How better to start off the Christmas Day than with a meditation!
First, I recommend finding yourself a quiet and comfortable place where you can meditate undisturbed away from technology, people, or external distractions. Sit on the floor on a cushion, a yoga mat, or on a chair.
Find what works best for you.
In your most comfortable seated position, close your eyes and imagine a string extending up from the base of your spine all the way up through the crown of your head extending you upright. Keep your spine erect, aligned so as to keep from slouching. Think of your heart extending upward and with every breath lifting.
Place your hands in a simple Gyan mudra, with the tips of the thumb and index fingers touching, resting on your lap or arms extended over the thighs toward the knees.
Start to focus on your breath. Inhale in through the nose deep into your diaphragm allowing your belly to rise. Exhale out the nose slowly and controlled contracting your abdomen.
Here, when you’re ready and practiced enough, you can focus on locking, tightening and retaining, the bandhas.
The more you focus on your breath the less you will be distracted.
Feel yourself firmly grounded into the Earth, whether with feet on the ground sitting in a chair or seated on the ground with legs crossed or extended. Imagine roots growing from the base of your spine like those of a tree extending deep into the Earth. You can draw energy up from this grounding as well by using the breath to envision it traveling up with each inhale. At the same time, envision a white light washing down over you like a veil passing through each and every minute cell. Feel it starting at the crown of your head, let it cleanse and heal you as it releases the tensions from your body.
As I sat in my meditation in a comfortable seated yogic posture and breathing attentively, I scanned my body for physical signs to witness and be aware of. The tension I recognized made me aware of my mind’s, or Ego’s, need to control my thoughts and how the tension appeared in my physical body. I saw how I’d clenched my jaw. It traveled down my spine and into my hips creating numbness into my legs down to my feet. I felt the tension particularly in my right inner hip and pelvis. For me, this always seems to be linked with my jaw; and in a yoga class many years ago I’d learned the close association with jaw clenching and tight hips.
I must point out that it’s not important to sit in a particular way or hold strict mudras when first meditating. What is important is finding your own comfort zone.
As I was able to witness all of this, I was also able to redirect it. This is continuous practice because you must always be aware of your thoughts and physical body while transcending them. The instant you become the witness aware in the moment you also have the opportunity to transform and change the way you react, act, or handle any thought, situation, or encounter.
Allow yourself to honor the thoughts that come in and recognize them – there’s a reason for everything. Then, allow them to drift off like light clouds being carried away by the wind. At the same time, if you feel discomfort, tend to it.
If you have an itch, scratch it.
If you need to adjust, move.
There is nothing wrong with moving and adjusting in meditation just try to do it with calmness and your eyes still closed to maintain a relaxed state. Adjusting doesn’t mean you need to start your meditation all over again. You can continue as you are!
Find comfort and be kind to yourself. You should tend to any distractions if you cannot use them to further deepen your meditation. In time, you will find your most comfortable position and focus with routine awareness.
The substance of mind is the substance of heaven. A joyful thought is an auspicious star or a felicitous cloud. An angry thought is a thunderstorm or a violent rain. A kind thought is a gentle breeze or sweet dew. A stern thought is a fierce sun or an autumn frost. Which of these can be eliminated? Just let them pass away as they arise, open and unresisting, and your mind merges with the spacious sky.
~ Huanchu Daoren, “Back to Beginnings: Reflections on the Tao” (translated by Thomas Cleary)
The breath, life force, chi, prana, vitality of spirit ~ what nourishes the mind, body, and soul and connects us to BEing!
Scanning the body using the breath is a great way to allow tension to wash away and to tune in.
Use it to focus and remove your mind from the fleeting thoughts floating in or the physical pains that may arise. One way to deepen your practice is to breathe into the areas of your body where you feel tension and as you breathe out, allow the release of this tension to release.
Breathing in the healing love and light and exhaling all the tension. You can do this while focusing on any areas of your body, which distract you. After a while with practice, you’ll also find your mind may no longer find tension because focusing on the breath requires attention.
When you relinquish the Ego-based need to control everything all naturally falls into rhythm. Allow your life to flow…
On this Christmas day and feeling nostalgic, the Luck Dragon Falkor in The NeverEnding Story reminded me to “never give up and good luck will find you!”
May you never give up on your journey in this amazing Life!