I’ve been reading a great little book called “Meditation in Action” by Chogyam Trungpa.   I landed on a chapter about all the experiences of life being used like manure to cultivate the seeds of our growth as human beings!

 

Very often when I meet people who want to learn to meditate they are in a state of overwhelm and are ready to drop all the baggage that comes with this life. We all experience a lot of stress and even chaos and feel like there is no time to process it all let alone rest. So for the most part people come to meditation with the idea that we are going to be able to shut off all this stress and arrive in some place that is perfectly tranquil and quiet. I try to let people know they could be setting themselves up for disappointment or at the very least a very frustrating meditation. A willingness to go through the baggage in a ‘mindful’ way to get to the peace is more realistic.

A key function of our mind is to think, and if we don’t have something pressing to think about in the moment, the mind calls up thoughts, concerns, ideas and plans from the past or the future, that is it’s job. The stress comes from how this all feels; stress, anxiety, fear, regret! Meditation practice is about cultivating the ability to stay with the feelings and reduce the focus on the thoughts. By doing so we can sort through the feelings as they arise and maybe even empty the baggage! In the end the feelings get processed fairly quickly and at the bottom of that is the peace and tranquility!

 

The message in this little chapter reminded me that we could use our meditation as a process of turning the stuff of life into fertilizer for what we want to create. And that by using this quiet time in meditation and contemplation to learn how to be with all the outcomes, all the residue of experience just as it is and not reject or avoid those feelings, that we can grow our patience, understanding, compassion and acceptance! By doing so we have all of these qualities to pass on in life, and this is how we take meditation into action!

 

The Practice –

 

Find a comfortable spot to sit. A chair, a sofa, a bed, or cushions on the floor, as long as you feel comfortable. It is nice to have your back supported as well. Let your hands rest in your lap, one open palm on the other or on your thighs. Take 3 deep breaths, inhaling through the nose and blowing as slowly as you can out of the mouth. As you do so you can feel your nervous system settling down. Allow the breath to move in and out of the nostrils and notice the temperature and speed and depth of the breath without trying to change or judge anything, just feeling it. You can “label” silently the “inhale” as you breathe in and the “exhale” as you breathe out.

 

Hang in there, things will start to slow down in the body, but the mind might still be racing along. Allow yourself to focus on your thoughts for a moment, and when you can catch the general idea of what you are thinking you can “label” it, “thinking”, “wandering”, “manure”, just pick one and stick with it during this meditation. Once you have labeled it, then turn your attention back to your inhale and exhale and say to yourself, “here”. You will see after a few minutes that you can detach from the thoughts themselves and focus on the task at hand. Training the mind to come back to the moment-by-moment experiences and feelings. Breathe, stay, and commit to returning from the wandering for about 10-20 minutes.

When you have finished, take a few deep breaths again, imagining the breath rising up the back of the spine on the inhale and down the front of the spine on the exhale.

It’s a practice, each time you do it, you will have a moment of realization, of your habits and patterns as they come into your awareness and then break up! Don’t forget there is peace and tranquility underneath it all just waiting for you to pay attention!!

Wishing you peace – Lori at OM!

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