I have resisted meditation my entire life. I have heard that inner calling urging me to sit still, calm my thoughts, and connect to an energy that is bigger than myself. However, I have ignored these whispers. I could say that I just didn’t have the time. I could say that I thought I would get bored if I sat with my eyes closed for several minutes. And while I may think that these are the real reasons, I know that it goes much deeper than this.
There was always a part of me that was afraid to sit still – afraid to just be. Who was I without my mind? Who was I without all of these “to-dos”? There was an aching inside of me – a soul aching – that seemed too painful to listen to – too painful to explore. So I ignored it. I didn’t want to hear what this part of me had to say. It was too scary.
And yet, I also knew that I wanted to be happy. I wanted to experience the lasting kind of happiness that comes from an inner sense of knowing who you are and being at peace with it. And I was tired of running from myself.
So here I am – on the path of exploring meditation. Pushing through my own resistance to it. Trying to make it not so intimidating or scary or elusive. And I’m making progress. I’m taking baby steps.
I’ve found some beautiful resources to help me along the way, and I am excited to share them with you in this week’s Saturday Selection.
Meditation is a powerful spotlight into the soul. It is a practice by which we shut down these outward projections and flip the light of our consciousness around to shine inward and illuminate our inner psychological and spiritual landscape. – Tobin Blake
What I love about this book is that it is about reconnecting with your higher self, and meditation is one beautiful way to do this. There are 100 daily meditations, which are woven into a discussion about what exactly meditation is, why we might be resistant to it, and how we can overcome this obstacle. Through these meditations, we learn to live more consciously and open to our truest essence. We reconnect with our soul, which opens the path to lasting happiness and inner peace.
The meditations begin by focusing on the form itself – posture, focusing on the breath, counting, having a mantra, etc. As the book continues, the meditations focus more on our thoughts and the actual content of the meditation rather than the form.
For example, the author introduces focus sentences, such as:
In this perfect moment, I am perfect within my core self. I am safe, I am whole, I am healed, I am complete.
By using repeating these sentences before meditation and also throughout the day, we learn to incorporate the messages into our lives – through this lasting change can occur. It’s no longer simply about the moment when we are sitting in meditation – the thoughts and feelings that form while in meditation begin to seep out into our daily lives.
In this video, the author talks more about this wonderful book:
Shyalpa Tenzin Rinpoche is a Tibetan spiritual healer who has devoted his life to inspiring people around the world through Buddhist teachings. This book is a culmination of these teachings. He believes that meditation is essential for being able to apply these teachings to our own lives and achieve lasting happiness. He says that meditation helps us get used to what we have to face – it helps us relate to our moment-to-moment life.
Because I have had an aversion to sitting and being still with my thoughts throughout my life, these sentences about meditation really spoke to me:
If you resist meditation or prefer not to meditate because you think meditation is boring or passive, you have become stuck in your habitual point of view. You are attached to the idea of not meditating and so you cannot even get past the first hurdle. Whether based on fear, laziness, or ego-driven ideas of progress, your habits are dragging you down, like a weak swimmer dragged below the ocean’s surface by strong undercurrents. On the spiritual battlefield you will be defenseless, and your thoughts and emotions will overwhelm you. My advice is to treat yourself kindly – take these sacred teachings to heart. Integrate the discipline of meditation into your life. If you are diligent and devote your time and energy to practice, you will experience the liberating results. - Shyalpa Tenzin Rinpoche
He also talks about how our own meditation practice is actually a gift to the world. If we are centered and happy, the energy we put into the world will be positive and open.
Pure joy can be found within each breath. He emphasizes that each moment is an opportunity to be mindful. If we are breathing, we can focus on living fully in the present moment. We can always direct our attention back to our breath.
In this video, he talks more about his book:
by Lama Surya Das
The first book that I read on Buddhism was by Lama Surya Das. It is called, Awakening the Buddha Within: Tibetan Wisdom for the Western World. It was just after 9/11, and I was looking for a way to find hope again in a world where something so horrific could happen. This is a beautiful book that is written in such a way that makes Tibetan Buddhism easy to understand and easy to incorporate the philosophies into our day-to-day lives.
I recently came across this guided meditation (spoken by Lama Surya Das), and I am excited to share it with you here.
Heart Meditation: Absorbed by Love
by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
I was first introduced to Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee in the movie, Wake Up. He is a Sufi teacher, and he has such a beautiful, loving heart that I was immediately drawn to his soul. Just last week he sat down with Oprah to talk more about his beliefs and how we’re all connected.
I found this meditation video that I am excited to share with you. In it, he says that meditation is that place where the sea of our human experience meets the sea of our divine consciousness – and together they lead to the ocean of oneness. I believe that we are all made of love, and so this truly spoke to me.
I found this Meditation Timer online, which has really helped me so much! I love the gong sounds that play at the beginning and end of each session. I also love that you can set it for just five minutes, which is usually what I do. We all have to start somewhere, right?
I would love to hear your experiences with meditation. Does it come easily for you or is it a struggle? How long have you been practicing it? Do you mix up your meditations or stick with the same one each time? Please comment below. And also, please share this with your friends. Let’s get this meditation conversation started!
P.S. – One of the perks of my job is that I get to review all sorts of great books. These books were review copies from the publisher. However, I did not receive compensation for reviewing them nor am I told what to write.