Being a better me: Meditation diary - December 2012
Back once again...
Salutations and greetings to you! I am back at the grindstone again having let myself become once more embroiled in the inevitable daily dramas of everyday life. It is the way of it around Christmas and New Year. No excuses. I was busy.
I am back firmly on the path again and with some interesting additions to my thought and routine. As I journey along this path I find my thoughts evolving and my understanding of myself and my place in this world is in a dynamic state of flux and growth. It is exciting to say the least.
Admittedly I am still very much taking two steps forward then one step back... but this is just another test for me to rise to. I will not give in, and my fiance Ashley (with whom I am sharing my journey) will not give in either. Having somebody so loving to bolster my strength in moments of weakness has saved me many a time - and I'm sure she would say the same. It also helps to know that when either of us slips up, or gives in to our weaknesses (and this is still more regular than I'd like) that there is someone who we can confide in and be forgiven by. It is always easier to forgive oneself when someone we love has forgiven us first.
Sages, holy men and ascetics separate themselves from the world to pursue higher thought. For them, solitude is their strength. For us who wish to have our cake and eat it by remaining within society whilst also seeking deeper truths... the moral support of a fellow seeker does help carry us along the way! This is why I suggest that anyone who doesn't have a partner to share their experience with... go join a meditation group... find a master to follow or other seekers to explore the deeper truths with. Although meditation and the path to enlightenment is a deeply personal one it is wrong to think we have to make it there on our own.
Basic positions of a Yoga Sun Salutation
Now, if you have read some of the previous hubs in this series you may remember that I advocated doing some light exercise and getting a bit of a mild sweat on before relaxing and then doing a meditation. I have now altered the type of exercise I do slightly on the urging of my fiance. The reasoning behind this was that if one is about to do a meditation, then wouldn't it make sense to do a form of exercise that was in and of itself conducive to meditative states?
As a result of this thought process we came to the conclusion that Yoga was the way forward for us. As we do our practice in the mornings when we get up it was only a short leap from here to deciding that the Yoga we would do would be a form of Sun Salutation.
Now - I am not a flexible person naturally. In fact I have been suffering with some pain in the past few months due to a shortening and tightening in my hamstrings caused, no doubt, by lack of use. This makes some of the moves in the sun-salutation somewhat difficult to do and rather painful... however after two weeks doing it I can confidently say that I am thoroughly feeling the benefits. Much of the leg and glut pain I have been experiencing has gone and I am already more flexible than I have been in months. Add to this the fact that the strict breathing patterns followed during the exercises naturally set you up for a breathing meditation... what's not to love?!
Yoga Sun Salutation Demonstration
Nithyananda giving a Meditation technique
Guided meditation with Eckhart Tolle
The Meditation itself...
I have struggled recently with a bit of a block with my meditation. Those of you who read the previous hubs will remember my extreme enthusiasm on making certain breakthroughs that led to my first experiences of "presence" in which for some short moments I enjoyed absence of thought and peace of mind. Well it turns out that not sticking with the program and having relapses into cycles of days without continuing meditative practice can cause set backs.
I'm telling you this because I don't want anyone to make my mistakes and have an extra two or three weeks of grinding to get back to the stage you were at before slipping up like what happened to me :(
At the early stage stick with it!!! What I found was that I made this break through and achieved a mental state of calm that was entirely new to me. I then proceded to have a heavy weekend and lots of partying followed by oversleeping and over-eating with no exercise for four days following this disaster of willpower. When I came back to myself again and tried to meditate I found that my confidence in myself was damaged. I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to get back to where I had got to... and that fear was the very thing that stopped me getting there!!
I have since worked through this issue - but it has taken a serious amount of concentration and no-nonsense squashing of all the self-doubting thoughts that bubble up in awkward moments during meditation. Listening to the words of Eckhart Tolle and also some of the vedic gurus helped me a great deal. Being able to focus and give my attention fully to what they were saying allowed me to dampen the rampant trends of fear-driven thought in my head. With those thoughts side-lined I was better able to get back on track. Thank God for that! Phew!
Meditation sounds with 528hz binaural beats - give it a go!
The conclusions I have drawn from the recent experiences are very straight forwards, thankfully.
- Firstly, though there is no point in beating myself up about slip-ups along the way... it really would be better for my rate of progress if it wasn't so regular.
- Self-discipline is a skill and must be practiced.
- Naturally meditative exercises such as Yoga are conducive to helping me achieve calmer states of mind during following meditations.
- Listening to the words of wiser men than I really helps when barriers are reached. I have found that the more I expose myself to the wisdom of enlightened men and women, the easier it is to follow the path I have set for myself.
I will be doing these little meditation diary entries once a month now in order to give me time to work on other projects that I have on the go. As I get further along this path, the more my natural sense of compassion leads me to start writing for the purpose of social change. The links below is to an article I wrote inspired by Billybuc's growing H.O.W. movement, along with links to two other hubber's H.O.W. articles that I think deserve a good read. I'm not going to waffle on about it here... but if you're interested in positive social change and real ways of making a difference, then it might just be for you. Peace :)
Links to hubs about positive social change :)
- H.O.W. in the hell are we to change the world paradigm for the better?
Changing the world paradigm into one of positivity, compassion and peace. Spotlight on a charitable organization called Lend With Care.
- H.O.W Eleven Simple Ways to Show Kindness Everyday
It takes just a minute to show kindness and love. You can do it everyday without any effort.
- H.O.W. to Commit the Perfect Random Act of Kindness
This New York cop's beautiful and random act of kindness was almost - but not quite anonymous...
- The H.O.W. Preamble
Making this world a better place in which to live; that is the goal of Humanity One World, and it is the responsibility of every single human being.
Links to previous hubs in this series
- Being a better me: meditation diary week 1
The first in a new mini series chronicling my attempts to find enlightenment via meditation.
- Being a better me: meditation diary week 2 & 3
Weeks 2 and 3 of my meditation diary - updates on how my experimental search for enlightenment is going...
- Being a better me: meditation diary weeks 4,5 and 6... I think
Break-through moment in my meditation learning curve.
- Being a better me: meditation diary weeks 7 &8
in this next episode of my meditation diary I introduce more specific forms of contemplative practice.