I mediate nearly every morning and have a few different practices that I like to do. What I like about this specific practice is that it has taught me to connect in a deeper way to my fear and suffering, it has allowed me to experience it fully and as a result I can experience the opposite of that fully as well. We cannot have light with out darkness right so it makes sense that in order to get into joy and peace I need to be willing to address the fear and sadness that is part of life as well.
Lately the key word in my life seems to be abundance. Many of my friends are doing meditations on abundance, working at opening themselves up to the present moment so that they can participate in life in a way that is more fun and light. While I am all for focusing on the positive and putting our negative thinking to rest, I do think it is important to address our fears and suffering because if we don’t they will resurface at some point. We cannot run from our pain. Believe me, I have tried everything you can think of and it does not work! When we lean into it, breathe into it, and open our hearts to it, we become stronger than we ever imagined possible. This is true abundance to me, the ability to harness our strength in the face of fear and stay even, without clenching or clawing our way through what life brings to us.
The practice: Try this for 5-10 minutes in the morning. It was very challenging for me in the beginning, so don’t be hard on yourself if it feels weird, doesn’t really make sense, or your mind wanders off the entire time, just practice, and practice again the next morning if you feel so inclined. I have been practicing this for nearly a year and it is amazing how much more compassion I have developed for myself and others, especially in the last six months.
Breathing in the fear acknowledges that it is there. I take it in fully. I let it fill my lungs and body. Feelings might come up, if they do I take note of them and go back to my breath. As I breathe out I release abundance. I smile to myself and notice the calm that comes over me. I continue breathing in fear and breathing out abundance. After I have done this for a while I rest in the abundance. Breathing there. I imagine a peaceful setting, a safe world where people are not constantly living in fear and stress. I imagine a world of abundance where everyone is has their needs taken care of, including their right to feel safe and secure. I continue breathing and end with a smile.
One of my favorite aspects of this practice is that 9 times out of 10 I feel more steady and serene afterwards. Ending my meditations with a smile helps to set the tone for the day. Even if the day is challenging like today was for me, I have set a foundation that I can revisit throughout the day when I need to. I hope you find this practice useful. Feel free to change it around to suit your life. Last year when I was in a great deal of physical pain from my injury I did this practice: breathe in pain, breath out relief. There were many mornings I cried through the meditation because it hurt so much to sit there. I continued to do it though because I wanted to experience the pain and not run from it. As a result I have compassion for people in physical pain that on a level that I did not have before. I’m telling you—this is powerful stuff!
Photo: Lani Trock