As I have worked with students and clients over the years, I have noticed the persistent urge to run away from unpleasant or difficult thoughts and feelings. Now, I know in my years I have had those exact same experiences as well so I have compassion. What helped me was my dedication to the practice on a consistent basis. Unfortunately for some, the urge takes over and the meditation practice is dropped to be either picked up at a later time or never again. We cannot heal what needs to be healed if we cannot face it with patience, kindness and gentleness.
When we can learn how to be present to what we feel, to allow it to be there without our usual pull to escape, we can learn for these emotions. It can actually be the advent of awakening to our true self. Allow yourself to be touched by what arises and make a determination that you will be kind and loving with yourself. Yes, it is a challenge but remember how we practice.
We start with settling in, we find our meditation object of the breath either at the nostrils, the chest or the belly, and focus here for awhile. Expand the awareness to the sensations of the body by doing a scan throughout. Notice what is here, is there tension, burning, stretching, throbbing or other types of sensations.
Next notice thoughts, allow them to be and then let them float on a cloud as we have done before. As emotions arise, notice those too. “Hello, old friend,” we can say and then find the home of the emotion in the body and what it feels like there, i.e. tightness in the chest, rapid pulse, etc.
Let me reiterate the need for a consistent practice. This weekend I have been attending an online retreat with Shambhala Mountain Center. The topic was “The Healing Buddha” which is considered the “Medicine Buddha” and is seen in images as a blue Buddha. The instructor was a Doctor of Tibetan Medicine. I have been loosely practicing several months based on a little bit of knowledge I had. We were instructed in depth on how to do the practice. It was emphasized that if you are new to the practice, that you focus on consistency and the deepening of your practice. Stabilizing the mind is key to success.
And, so I suggest the same to you. Be consistent in your practice even if it is a mere five minutes a day. Then add on a minute or two when you feel you can do so. Try doing it without an app or with other guided tracks to see how you fair. Remember it is a practice and so you have to do just that, practice.
Here’s Sharon’s practice for today. Next week we will be focusing on my favorite practice, Loving-Kindness and also Compassion.
Let me know how this past week went for you with each practice that I posted. The same with our coming week. You can join me in my mindfulness classes or if you would you like personal meditation instruction, I am happy to assist you through these practices. Contact me.
Recommended reading for Week Three of the Challenge is pages 112 – 122 and pages 137– 144 in the second edition of the book, “Real Happiness”.