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I have memories of my Buddhist mother sitting at our ancestor’s shrine when I was young. She would meditate for her sanity, for world peace, and for our family to live in abundance.
As a young child, I was unsure of what this “meditation thing” was all about ~ all I knew was that my home consistently smelled like incense and my mom wore some orange looking robe while sitting on the floor before pictures of ancestors, plates of fruit and Buddha statues.
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But as I circle back to these pictures of presence in my memory, I now see that meditation is a survival tool to bring us back home to our true nature of peace, that state that we become estranged from through our busyness and fear, but that always exists within our being. We have little control over our external world, but we have tremendous control over our relationship with the ebb and flow of life.
Our modern society is busy…and that’s an understatement. Our minds are always engaged in an inner dialogue that involves stories about work, marriage, financial status or that strange look our friend gave us. We experience 60–80 thousand thoughts a day and…wait for it…the majority of those thoughts are negative. Wow, right? So, in order to transform our lives, we must transform our thoughts.
In a world where you truly need to disconnect in order to find a signal, carving out time for stillness and silence is imperative to our health and happiness. Essentially, meditation can create a greater sense of inner peace, emotional balance, love, and joy. Mindfulness is a way to unlearn our way out of busyness and fear, reclaiming the contentment we’re so desperately seeking. It’s energizing to realize that we hold the power to increase our own sense of internal happiness ~ true, untethered happiness that lives in our soul. But how?
First, we need to make a fundamental shift if we’re going to begin experiencing the deep inner joy and contentment we’re seeking. THE shift: Move from focusing on external to internal consciousness. What does this mean? Well, instead of grasping and clinging to external materials and life circumstances to be happy, look within…deep within…and stay there for periods of time. Through our great teachers of stillness and silence in meditation, you’ll be transformed. Here’s how:
In order to love our lives and those precious people in our lives fully, we must connect with an authentic sense of love for ourselves. Through meditation, we’re able to gain a felt sense of our wholeness beneath the not-so-accurate thoughts of being deficient human beings. When we can finally drop into mindful presence, receiving and accepting ourselves in the present moment, no matter what is going on externally, we begin to appreciate our imperfectly perfect selves. And through this appreciation, we find the inner refuge of true self-love.
2.) Creatures of Compassion
I like to say that “to journey inward is our highest calling” because to go within through the practice of meditation is to be courageous enough to see what’s there. We all experience thoughts and feelings we’re not so proud of. The Buddha taught that because we are humans living on this earth, we suffer. This very suffering is the connective tissue that binds humanity together as one. To honor our own inner distress (without pushing it away) with compassionate presence is to transform the way we walk through the world. When make compassion meditation a daily practice, we honor not only ourselves but all of the humanity. Then, the truth of our interdependent nature is embodied in our individual words and actions. Our energy, words, actions and choices ripple out into the world, creating a web-like impact beyond our mind’s knowing. And to transform the world, we must start with nurturing our own compassionate hearts.
3.) Profound Peace
We’re constantly looking externally to grasp at the next exercise fad, supplement or treatment that will bring us the peace and joy we’re longing for. A fundamental tenet of mindfulness meditation is the belief that peace exists within the depths of our being. Again, this is the shift from external to internal consciousness. The more we’re able to be present with the ebb and flow of our inner landscapes (thoughts, feelings and body sensations), the more quickly we’re able to find that profound inner peace when we need it. It’s a choice. When we choose to go inward, we choose to walk the path of peace.
Cultivating a meditation practice is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself and the world. You see, the incredible capacity for peace, love, and joy thrives within. And beneath the turbulence of daily living, we can begin to reclaim the essence of our power, transforming our lives from the inside out.