“As Within, So Without”
I’m an absolute believer that what you’re feeling inside is going to ultimately reflect out into the world – the energy you project is what you’re going to attract in return. If you’re kind and friendly on the outside but not loving yourself very much on the inside, you’ll likely have relationships with people who take advantage of that in some regard – whether it’s actual material gain, or just putting you down in order to feel better about themselves. Likewise, if you’re confident, loving toward yourself, and accepting of others, the relationships you cultivate are likely to reflect that too. Slowly, you’ll move away from negative, destructive people, and instead embrace the more positive and loving ones.
The title of this post came from a quote I saw on PurposeFairy and I thought it was just perfect. Specifically, it was this great post about a 21-day meditation challenge, something I’ve decided to try for myself. I’ve had a sporadic meditation practice going on for a while now, but I think the time has come to really add some discipline to it. (I downloaded the Omvana app too … very excited to see what it offers, and will give an update once I find out!)
Lots of people hear about meditation and think there’s no way they can do it. They picture cross-legged monks in sandals and robes, levitating off the ground and achieving some other-worldly sense of enlightenment. But they don’t picture everyday people, you and me, just sitting quietly for a dedicated amount of time each day to clear and refresh their minds. To me, that last part is really the most basic essence of meditation.
Remember, too, that meditation is called a practice for a reason – it’s not something you’re born knowing how to do right away. It’s an acquired skill, just like playing the piano or learning how to make the perfect loaf of sourdough bread. The more you try it, the better you become.
So, how does one get started on this practice? Surely, there are a million books and online resources, but these are a few things I’ve found helpful:
(1) Set aside a time to do it, faithfully, each day: It could be early in the morning, right after you get up. Maybe there’s a time in the afternoon you can set aside. Make it a part of your daily schedule and routine, and soon it will be a habit.
(2) Focus on your breathing: This will help you draw your awareness back into your body and the present moment. Sometimes it help to focus on one element of the breath – the air filling your lungs, the exhale, the rise or fall of your stomach, and so on.
(3) Let thoughts flow through your mind: Thoughts are going to arise. You’ll be distracted by the sounds around you. That’s OK. Let those things pass through your mind, then let them go and let them float away.
(4) Eyes open? Eyes closed? There are differing opinions on this, but for me, as a beginner, I find eyes closed to usually be a better place to start. You could also focus a soft gaze on something – a candle’s flame, a point in the distance where the treetops meet the sky, a blank wall.
(5) Be present, present, present: Surrender completely to all that is around you – the sounds, the feeling of the chair beneath you, the temperature of the room, and so on. For just this moment, let go of the past and don’t worry about the future – focus all of your energy on the absolute present.