Lightness of Being

Stress Free Living through Meditation

Have you ever  had a day or two when you felt completely in harmony with yourself and life? 

Perhaps you woke up feeling great, you had a chance to meditate, pray, journal or whatever your morning ritual is, your needs were being met before you even thought of them, your intuition was right on, you got perfect parking spaces wherever you went, you ran into the right people right when you needed to connect with them, everyone you met gave you a compliment (and you believed them), you saw the good in everyone, time flowed perfectly – you were never late or rushing to go somewhere, your creativity burst at the seams, you expressed yourself easily, and you felt like you were smiling from the inside out.

This happened to a client of mine. She described how she felt in the flow of life, where she saw everything and everyone including herself as luminous, peaceful, powerful, and whole, full of potential. Then after a few days of bliss, unexpectedly, she woke up one morning and the feeling of lightness and perfection was gone. She described her self-talk as going something like this: “You can’t follow your dream, who do you think you are?” “You aren’t good enough.” “You need to do A LOT more than you are doing.” She was left deflated and discouraged.

What happened? Why didn’t that lightness of being last?

There could be many reasons, and hers was that she was overworking. The effects of the physical stress were what blocked her mind and body’s ability to maintain that good feeling.

Stress. What is it really? If you were to ask a dozen people to define stress, or explain what causes stress for them, or how it affects them, you would likely get twelve different answers. What is stressful for one person may be pleasurable or have little effect on another. And, we all react to stress or stressors differently.

It can go like this: something doesn’t go your way, and then stress occurs. Are you bored with your job, and you wish it were more interesting? Stress. Do you desire a better relationship with someone and all you do is argue with them? Stress. Do you desire a pain free body and you have pain? Stress. Do you desire a peaceful world, and you keep hearing about war and violence? Stress.

Stress can also be caused when we don’t get enough sleep, eat food that isn’t good for us, say ‘yes’ when we mean ‘no’, or ‘no’ when we mean ‘yes’, or when we don’t live in tune with nature’s daily, seasonal or lifecycle rhythms. It can accumulate due to toxic environments, undigested experiences or emotions, or painful relationships.

Stress affects everyone both physically and mentally. You can ignore the feeling of stress or temporarily wish it away, drink it away, or watch TV to forget about it. However, once the masking effect ends, the stress is literally still there, blocking your creativity, wholeness, bliss, health, and peacefulness.

Left unchecked over time, stress can cause tension, anxiety and panic, high blood pressure, chronic pain, headaches, respiratory problems such as emphysema and asthma, sleep disturbances, gastrointestinal distress, fatigue, skin disorders, mild depression, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Your birthright is to experience yourself as blissful, joyous, energetic, creative, peaceful and loving. WE start out that way, just look at a young child, full of energy and bliss. As we get older the stress compounds in our nervous system, and if we don’t get rid of it, it masks our fullest expression of who we really are.

Most of us cannot go through life completely avoiding stress, it is just not possible. Yet there are a few effective ways to deal with it. Sleep is one way, meditation is another.

Meditation is proven to be the perfect antidote to stress. It counteracts the physical and mental component of the flight or fight syndrome. Did you know that the purpose of yoga and meditation is to reduce the stress in your nervous system so you can experience and maintain higher states of consciousness and experience your full potential?

This is good news. As we meditate, and the stress dissipates, we become healthier, happier and able to realize greater self-awareness. People who practice meditation regularly report that they experience greater intuition, more creativity, increased mental abilities, improved memory and a decreased need to visit a doctor compared to before they began to meditate. They are ‘tapping in’ to the intelligence that pervades our world.

Studies have even shown that meditation can reduce or reverse cardiovascular disease and improve the ability to cope with chronic illness.

Although there are many different ways to meditate, I recommend that you try a meditation that isn’t about imagination or affirmations. We teach simple mantra meditation techniques, including Deepak Chopra’s Primordial Sound Meditation, to train your awareness to go transcend thought. It then relieves the effects of stress. The meditation techniques we teach help you to reconnect with the part of you that is most real and most true. Eventually, through meditation, you’ll find that you can maintain a sense of balance and peace no matter what the outside world is up to. And when you do it, you too can experience your true lightness of being.

Join a meditation class or a free introduction to meditation, look at our new online schedule, or listen to the Meditate CD so you can learn to meditate, or if you already know how to meditate and have been taking a break from it, here’s your reminder to begin your practice again.

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A Meditator’s Journey

meditationA Meditator’s Journey
Into the heart of Namaste

People ask me about what they can expect from a practice of meditation. I often suggest that they approach it with innocence, as if they were on an adventure to somewhere that has never been explored. It is certainly different for everyone. Often, new meditators have amazing experiences their first day, like Carol who wrote:

“Learning to meditate was like that moment standing on top of the mountain and seeing the whole world lay out at your feet. A feeling of being a part of something much larger than yourself and at the same time knowing it was always within you. There is this image in my mind of the swirling pinks and purples of the rocks against that dark and moody sky that day when I opened my eyes after meditating for the first time. It was as if the world had polished itself just for me.”

But her experience is only one of many that people can have. A meditation student from Flagstaff , we’ll call R.H. recently shared his perspective as he explores his practice of meditation…. I thought you might enjoy it.

“I have read many books, and talked to a wide variety of people about meditation, and in my practice I have been seeking the peak experience that many describe: the merging with the universe, the transformational experience, the overwhelming realization of my oneness with the spirit that moves in all things, an experience that would change my life forever, but it never came.

“So I would read more books, talk to more people, and take more classes looking for a better way, or for what I was doing wrong. But my practice continued to be filled with thoughts, and my enlightenment remained illusive. I kept seeking, kept up my practice, but seemed to make little progress toward universal consciousness.

“Over time, however, I did notice that I felt calmer and more often at peace with myself, my circumstances and with others. I noticed that sometimes walking felt more like dancing, a sweeping ballet of movement that filled me with wonder.

“I started to notice a voice within me, that wasn’t a voice I could hear, but was more like a knowing, that helped me to see the way though my days. I notice that I stopped wanting things, or doing things that did not serve me, from the foods I ate, to the TV I watched, and the ways I invested my time.

“As my awareness of these changes grew, my disappointment at not having a transformational experience faded, and I rejoiced in the growing quality of my life, and it was enough.

“Then one day I realized my whole life was changing. While I was looking for an ecstatic experience, it had come to me, not all at once, but in the breath of daily living. What I saw when I looked around, what I felt when I talked to people, what I experienced when I went within, was a connection, a oneness that is at the heart of Namaste.

“The experience I had sought arrived gently, more like the warming breath of spring than the crescendo of a symphony, more from surrendering to the wisdom of the spirit that moves in all things than from my seeking, more like a quarry that appears unannounced in the night, than one you hunt down.

“So my meditation practice continues, sometimes uncomfortable, always interrupted by thoughts and the random sounds of my everyday world, sometimes ordinary, but the peace and connectedness still pervade my life, and this gift is priceless.”

*The translation of the greeting “namaste” that best expresses what I mean comes from Alan Watts:

“I greet that place in you, which, when you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, we are one.”

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