How To Turn Your Life Into A Living Meditation
Meditation has become the “in” thing to do.
People from all walks of life are into yoga and meditation.
But often there are unrealistic expectations; some are seeking an escape from the stress, emotions and the hardships of life.
Especially in the beginning, many become disillusioned and disheartened.
Some begin to feel that there is something wrong with them because they have not reached enlightenment in a certain amount of time.
Many are finding out that sitting on a cushion for 30 minutes a day is not what they were expecting.
They are finding that instead of peace, enlightenment, and a reduction of stress, they are faced with intense emotions, tears and sometimes an intensification of the very things they are using meditation to escape from.
But therein lies one of the myths of meditation.
It is not an escape from our situation, life’s problems, or intense emotions that sometimes cause us pain.
In fact, meditation is often the very opposite of escape.
It is a submersion into the very things we often want to run away from.
Far from being an escape, meditation is a way of being with whatever is, and accepting it.
And learning that it’s not only okay, but we are where we needed to be all along.
There is no reason to avoid or run from life.
Meditation is about showing up for, being with, and truly living and experiencing life.
The rules for meditation are quite simple.
There are no rules other than being with what is.
Sometimes you may find yourself in a quiet place, a relaxing place, surrounded with beauty.
By all means use this time to be mindful and meditate.
However, there will be times you may find yourself in a hostile environment, the heat or cold are intense, the noise level is very distracting, and you are uncomfortable, anxious, and perhaps even afraid.
With practice, we can learn to use this time to practice acceptance and even find peace.
Of course this does not mean just sitting, walking, etc., and doing nothing to help improve your situation.
What it does mean is that even in the most uncomfortable setting we can imagine, mindfulness, meditation is always possible.
I’ve often thought how serene the monastic life seems.
It is quiet- there is plenty of time for sitting, walking, or chanting meditation.
You’re surrounded by a place of peace and tranquility and you are surrounded by a like-minded Sangha.
I know there are disruptions, hard work, and hindrances, but life is life no matter where we find ourselves; but overall this is a perfect way practice and meditate.
Yet, what if—just maybe—there is much more to be gained by living in the world with all it’s distractions, the suffering, hostility, and life in general?
Could it be possible to have an even deeper understanding of meditation in living life in the midst of chaos?
What if it is in the chaos of life that we learn a different kind of meditation- a deeper way of practice.
What if we learn to let our every moment on this planet be our teacher?
What if we learn to isolate that fraction of a second—that blink of time in between action, thought, and reaction where our intentions, comprehension and possibilities reside?
Would be maybe be better able to make the right choices for us and others?
This is real life meditation. The act of conscious mindfulness in every waking moment of life. Is this even possible?
It can be.
It doesn’t mean that we won’t face all the difficulties in life that we would any way, but it would mean not running or escaping those times.
It may come and go, like waves on the ocean, but it is always accessible.
How can we access this mindfulness even in difficult times? We take a deep breath and just BE with whatever arises.
Real Life Meditation
So how does one go about learning real life meditation?
If you already have a meditation practice, you simply begin deepening that practice.
When you get up from your cushion, or stop chanting—however you practice, remember to consciously carry the mindfulness and the awareness with you throughout your day.
Bring yourself back to the calmness, the consciousness of meditation by simply taking a deep, centering breath.
With time and practice you will find it easier and easier to come back to the state of meditation no matter where you are, or what you are doing.
It is always with you and available. We only need to be aware.
If you are new to meditation, you will want to stick with a basic meditation practice for awhile.
Find one that resonates with you and your life.
Then, practice the basics even on days when you may not feel up to it.
Soon it will all begin to fall in place and you will find your heart and mind opening like a lotus blossom.
We all must begin with the basics, and even the most seasoned practitioner needs to come back to the basics from time to time.
We are never too advanced to begin again.
They’re called basics for good reason.
They are like exercises for the mind to keep our emotional muscles strong and healthy so that they can support us throughout life.
Enjoy the Journey
Take your time. There is no competition, no expectations or time limits.
This is a lifetime journey.
Enjoy each day and its lessons. Learn to find the beauty and joyfulness that is in the present moment, regardless of circumstances.
Know that there will be setbacks, days when you feel that it just isn’t working, and days when it seems difficult.
Accept that there will be times like these and just keep practicing through them.
It is through much practice, being mindful, compassionate, and grateful, along with being aware and conscious in each moment, that we can turn our lives into a living meditation.
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