Two Saturday's ago I took a half day meditation course at our local Buddhist Centre here in Sarasota-Kadampa Meditation Center Florida http://www.meditationinsarasota.org/
The Art of Meditation was the title. I have always meditated over the years but as I looked back my meditation experiences have mostly been guided in a classroom setting or on yoga or self improvement retreats. I wanted to learn a methodology as I have committed to meditating on my own on this journey of feeding my soul.
This is what I see as I look ahead - giant gold Buddhas behind glass.
I walked into the centre alone and the peace and anticipation I felt left me drooling ! Three and a half hours to myself - Alleluiah!
I love having a 'How to Guide'. I wish I had one for my life and my greatest challenge has always been to rely on my own inner guidance. This is what I am hoping meditation will connect me to, that Natalie voice of higher consciousness that will create a certainty in my choices and directions as I move through my life.
Woa... hold on there lassie , one step at a time.
As I learn there are preparations for meditation as I sit in my chair right upfront (eager student that I am ). Giant gold Buddha's behind glass infront of me and our very own Buddhist Female Monk to teach us.
She is gentle,soft spoken and loving in her approach and I listen, take notes and soak it all up (secret wishes of wanting to live here fill my smiling head) This is what makes me happy taking care of my spirit and learning how to...
The greatest lesson is that like a piece of art Meditation is a work in progress: a creation . There are no perfect conditions. We must be flexible about our space and our process
Preparations for Meditation..
1. Cleaning Meditation Room/Creating an Altar
Part of My Altar
Have a clean clear environment. Check - I have had an altar and a special space on the side of my bed for a couple of years now. Due to inconsistent use however paperwork and books seem to pile up around it . Basically the energy needs to flow so we must create a clean ,clutter free environment/space. This I believe is true for the whole home, easier said than done. As a mother there are some days I never sit down -all I do is walk around the house putting things away!!
Back to Meditation- we clean our room to invite Holy Beings and then the mind becomes clear and negative thoughts are removed with the dust and clutter.
Even this cleaning can be a purposeful meditation . Out with the bad energy in with the new. (Just like Meditative Breathing) We must clean with spiritual motivation. Clearing our mind as we sweep and vaccum the dust and cobwebs. Think of an obstacle and act out it's removal from your life by cleaning the space. Next time I scrape dishes off before putting in the dishwasher I will choose an obstacle to work on.
Sit cross legged . this helps reduce feelings of detachment. Top of foot rest on each thigh.
Back straight -energy flows freely and helps create a clean mind.
Hands in 'Mudra'-right hand rests on our lap thumbs touching symbolizes union of compassion.
Mouth-tongue on the roof of mouth behind teeth which prevents excess salivation.
Head-tipped slightly forward
Eyes- half open or gently closed
Breathing in preparation to clear the mind.
So now I know what to strive for.
My greatest lesson however is that my Motivation and Reasons for Meditation should come from feelings of joy!
Always think of the benefits or the joy we will experience. I should feel inspired to meditate.
Yet this is not always how it goes for me- I must focus on the peace I will feel.
What has struck me during my class is this is the same feeling I need to have as I embark on my weight loss journey. As I exercise and eat, the feelings of joy need to be present . Now when I say the word need it feels forced - there is a pressure behind that idea of NEED. The difference with JOY is that there is lightness of being and it is effortless!
For me to feel JOY I have to focus on the outcome which is also feeling based -LIGHTNESS IN MY BODY, HEALTH, EASE OF MOVEMENT, AND DARE I SAY IT LOOKING MY BEST SELF (this is not a perfect self but the best of YOU). All of these ideas create a feeling of joy within me.
Back to the MEDITATION MOTIVATION - meditation is to be in the category of enjoyment, rejuvenation, relaxation, leaving me inspired.
Here is the outcome for my meditation-
Overcome inner problems/ allows me to use my mind rather than my mind using me/ creates intentions for virtuous action.
Now this is what I want to hear and connect with when I meditate- THE VOICE OF THE INFINITE- MY OWN INTUITION !!-Now is that too much to ask ? If I familiarize my mind with a virtuous object that makes me happy and allows peaceful feelings to arise-
Meditation should give relief from inner pains.
I believe that our behavior is dictated by our mind-
A negative mind leads us and drags us down.
With meditation positivity increases through our wisdom, which is our connection to our higher self .
Feelings of peace and happiness-
Experiencing Inner Peace-
The still mind creates a well being to help us cope with the business of our daily lives.
So all in all it is a beneficial endeavour and I will choose each time to focus on the benefits and outcome and this is the same as I practice mindful eating and choose to move my body.
In the words of McFadden and Whitehead.-
" Ain't No Stopping Us Now , Were On The Move !!!"