Archive | Communication with Self
I just completed a 5-day silent meditation retreat with spiritual teacher Adyashanti near Lake Tahoe. It was extremely well orchestrated and I recommend it to anyone looking to create a foundation for their meditation practice or experience the silence inside of them. It was more gentle than I thought it would be. There was much free time in the day to go hiking, relax under a tree, or sit in a hot tub. This space in the day seemed to allow me to give it my all during the meditations.
I found Adyashanti’s approach to meditation to be refreshing. He discourages participants from attempting to quiet their thoughts. He explains that thoughts tend to have a mind of their own and trying to stop them just creates a battle with your ego. Instead, he encourages participants to focus on the silence beyond their thoughts. This may seem like a subtle distinction, but I found it to make a huge difference in my meditations.
At first this relatively formless approach to meditation was difficult for me to grasp. But on the third day or so I was able to find a place inside that reminded me of the silence I had experienced in the Ponderosa Pine forest the previous evening.
Soon I was able to simultaneously be aware of both my thoughts and the silence. When my attention got hijacked by a thought, I would shift it back to the silence. This was a welcome change from my previous meditation experiences of trying to force my mind to be quiet.
But the biggest value that I received was getting enough meditation time under my belt to find a groove to continue in. I now have a habit in the way I sit that I am used to it and comfortable with.
So doing my meditation before work this morning seemed quite natural. That is a welcome change for me.
Sure, now that you have committed yourself, you may start to wonder. Was I too strong? Should I gave done more? And then your friends, family and co-workers will chime in, “You did what? That is not what I would have done.” Well keep in mind, they were not there. And besides, they are not you.
And then there is the aftermath when the outcomes of your decision start to come in. Maybe it didn’t turn out like you hoped. It may even have brought unfortunate results.
But hold your head up. No Monday morning quarterback. You made the best decision you were able to with the information you had at the time. You challenged it. If you are not happy with the results, do not regret it. Rather, ask yourself what you can learn from it. Ask what you could do differently next time. Ask what the possibilities are.
Always question, never doubt.
It is spring time- the perfect time of the year for new aspects of self to be born. Often, the new aspects that emerge do not have any form. They are pure concept or idea. You may have a feeling or picture of it, but not yet understand how it will unfold. It may not be clear how it fits into your life. It may not make sense.
This is natural. Do not discard it because because you don’t understand it. Rather, stay with it. Work with the feeling and idea until it slowly begins to take form. Over this coming year and cycle you will see what to do with it.
So find a way to refer to it. Remind yourself of the picture or feeling of it. Explore it. Research it. Play with it. Meditate or pray on it. Write about it. Do some art work or something creative with it. Make a collage or dream board of it. Tell your trusted friend about. Find a way to work with it until it can unfold. Remind yourself of it every day.
Do not let it fade away. Do not forget about it. This how some of the most important and powerful things get away from us.
There is something new and really beautiful that is trying to make itself known to you. But it so new and so beautiful that you do not what to do with it… yet.
We tell ourselves all kinds of things about the way we are. Our perceptions of ourselves may be, “I am all about such and such,” or, “I care so much about so and so.” But what do your actions say about it? Adyashanti, in his book and course, The Way of Liberation, (link) points out that your actions will tell you the truth of the matter. What you do is the perfect mirror of what is important to you.
So taking this approach involves observing your actions and then noting what they say about you- without judging yourself. If you are willing to look honestly, your actions will likely expose that some things that are different than your perceptions of yourself. This inevitably creates conflict. This type of conflict is generally not pleasant- which is why we were dishonest with ourselves to start with.
An example might be, “I tell myself that my nephew and niece were so important to me, but yet I do not call them on a regular basis.”
Or, “I told myself that having a relationship is not a big deal right now, yet I base many of my decisions about how I spend my free time on this.”
Adyashanti suggests that you simply observe it. It is similar to observing your mind thinking about something while meditating. The observation of it shifts your awareness.
The gift to you is the resolution of the conflict and disunity in yourself. Typically, either the perception or actions change. So in our examples, I may decide to call my nephew and niece more often (change my actions). And, I may admit that a relationship is important to me (change my perception).
Either way, you have aligned your perceptions and actions. The integrity and self-respect you gain from this unity will create inestimable peace.
Assume for a moment that there is a part of you that is connected to all of life and knows what is best for you. And… that it is trying to guide you. All you have to do then is listen to it and allow yourself to be guided.
It is simple as following your curiosity. Or asking the questions that you inquisitively want to know when you are having a conversation. It is letting go of the script and figuring it out as you go. And going with what comes to you- even if it doesn’t make any sense.
Allowing yourself to be guided is, however, 180 degrees apart from how we have been conditioned. We are used to willing what we want to happen by following some formula that we have used for years.
Allowing yourself to be guided still accomplishes tasks. It is how we do it that is different. Say I have to find a new supplier for my business. Allowing myself to be guided involves: getting quiet for a minute, being open to an idea or approach coming to me, and then having the courage to wait for it… and follow it.
(If nothing comes to you, you can always go back to your tried and true formula.)
Creative graphic artists and marketers realized this years ago. You’ve seen design firms in the movies that have a Nerf basketball hoop in the studio. It’s a technique to allow ideas to come to them. They discovered that ideas that come to them are creative, fresh, and original.
So your choice is to will things into existence or to allow yourself to be guided. But if you are not used to the latter, start small. Think about what (actually) sounds good for dinner or what you (really) feel like doing this weekend.
And give it a shot.