The instruction for seated meditation is so simple and yet so challenging to do. Why is it such a struggle to sit and do nothing? Are we brain washed to think that we always need to being doing something or being productive? One thing I grasped during my silent retreat this summer, is that there is this underlying tone of anxiety that we all live with. The activity and all the doing is a way to avoid feeling this anxiety. We distract ourselves in many ways to avoid this. Just take a look at your life and see any part that is out of balance and you will see where you are distracting yourself. Over working, over eating, excess computer time, excess social activities, over exercising, over cleaning, and excess talking are many examples of this avoidance. It is when we sit to meditate that we stop all the doing and then we can touch this place of anxiety. So why bother if it is uncomfortable to feel this? Why cause ourselves the suffering of feeling the anxiety? It actually seems crazy to go there. If we can keep avoiding then we don’t need to suffer. But the truth is, by avoiding this anxiety we cause more suffering. We are trapped by our conditioning and habits and all the ways we avoid. Then we become slave to all of these behaviours. It is actually by touching the anxiety, or whatever resides beneath the distraction, that we can free ourselves. Meditation is a practice where we can strengthen the ability to sit with whatever shows up and not need to change it or move from it. We are training ourselves to be better prepared for life. Our world is constantly changing and we are constantly changing. Old cells are dying and new cells are being made every second. With every exhale there is a new inhale. Nature is always changing from day to night and from season to season. When we practice sitting we learn this law of impermanence. We grasp it not only from an intellectual level but at a level of deep knowing. This teaches us that we do not need to grasp life or push away life. It teaches us to accept each moment just as it is and this cultivates a state of calm abiding known as equanimity. And even though we are also always changing, there is a part of us that is permanent and never changes. The Yogis refer to this as Purusha, the divine essence within each one of us. When we develop a regular practice of meditation, it opens us to glimpses of this divine inner light. When we see clearly the difference between our changing self and unchanging self then the veil of ignorance is lifted and in those moments we are free from suffering. I know for sure this to be true. I know what it feels like to be non-reactive in my life. Now they may be fleeting moments, but I know that it is possible. I also know when I commit to a regular practice of meditation then I am more patient and compassionate with myself and others. I have had glimpses of the freedom to let life unfold as it is meant to and flow with the moment instead of fight it. This is what motivates me to have a regular practice. Yes, I still struggle. Another thing I know for sure is if we commit together then I/we are more likely to show up for the practice. I worked with a man this summer, Dr. Henry Grayson (Author of:  Use your Body to Heal your Mind), and he kept repeating something over and over. He said that the ego mind is the strongest and loudest and always speaks the first. It clarified for me to learn to listen to the wisdom of my body, which one needs to slow down to connect to. And when I sit in meditation pose I hear my monkey/ego mind go on and on about how much there is to do and I don’t have time for sitting doing nothing. At the silent retreat we were meditating 12 hours a day. I would listen to this crazy monkey mind and at times I would feel like I was going mad. I would be making my getaway plan to leave the center and think everyone was crazy for being there. Now, I know 12 hours is a bit austere but I realize if I wasn’t with 100 other people doing the practice I would have gotten up and left many times. But when we come together then our collective commitment is greater than our individual commitment. So let’s get together and practice doing nothing. As Bob Marley sings “ let’s get together and feel alright”. When we meditate together we collectively raise the vibration of each other and the planet. So here’s to good vibrations and to ONE LOVE! Namaste.

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