here is the first of 10 simple micro meditations that will take no more than a few moments at a time...mindfulness sprinkled into your days...
grounding - 2 minutes
now, right now, even as you are reading this, relax your jaw completely...
(this is important! it's a fast track way to get out of your head).
bring all of your attention to the area at the base of your heart.
(it will be easier now that your jaw is soft).
let your awareness come to rest at the base of your heart area, breathing in and out of that place.
(resting deeply for a few moments).
stay fully connected there.
frequency - several times a day (or maybe, the rest of your life...?!)
you can walk down the street with a part of your attention always resting in the heart.
(try it when you are interacting with people too)
here's to a deeper sense of presence, connection and intimacy with all things...
how do you become fully present?
you choose what is, now.
ever had a nagging feeling that there is something missing? 10 years ago i was out dancing in ibiza following a deeply expansive experience with one of my teachers. i went around asking strangers this question - "what's missing in this moment?"
it was so delicious to feel people's responses to that question - the spontaneous response was "NOTHING"! (maybe as most people are feeling particularly 'content', or think they ought to be, when out dancing on a magical island in the mediterranean…)
but then i could see the mind kicking in as they started to search, yes search for something that might be missing… because the mind wants to be involved, and the question seems to demand a thinking process, an inquiry.
of course, in truth this moment is always perfection in its fullness. (which might sound like wishful thinking until you actually feel it to be true).
so, today's practice is simply asking ourselves this question at various points in our day, during the mundane and the magical and everywhere in-between:
is there anything missing in this moment?
let that sink in for a moment…
what might happen if I let in the possibility that perfection actually is now? can i get rooted in that perfection? am i really willing to let life be as juicy and visceral and intense and vivid as it wants to be in every moment? because Life with a big L is infinite and life with a small l is finite. i will only get a finite time as lisa. so i want to feel it all. i better have a damn good reason to be hanging out in the past giving it double time, or skipping forwards to an imaginary future. it better be really worth it, selling my present moment like that.
what is worth that?
what will you do when you realise that you, this, right now, is as imperfectly perfect as it's ever going to be?
let's get rooted in what we are. right now. because only by connecting to what's real will we ever be able to handle each other's incredible radiance and light. be able to truly connect.
be able to say yes to each other and to it all.
as hafiz says
"this place where you are right now, god circled on a map for you."
squinting into the now // # no filter
hello from the sweetness of the esalen institute in california… i write with waves crashing against the rocks below me beneath a wide and blue sky.
i know that this is an exquisite and beautiful place yet i can still sometimes feel my view filtered and even a little obscured by my pre-existing idea of what it is.
what am i really seeing?
blinking into this moment, i deconstruct all my ideas about the view and look at it afresh, letting go of any story i'm telling myself about it and truly seeing it for the very first time...
i give myself full permission to simply interpret the fabric of now, without wanting, needing or already seeing anything at all.
ooo. totally different level of appreciation of what is here now.
look out into the world, wherever you are...at any moment in your day.
notice if any pre-existing ideas or interpretations arise.
(allow it. it's not wrong. it's your mind doing it's thing, frickin divine loveliness that it is).
feel all the ideas and stories dissolving, a melting of the lens you are seeing through.
(just pretend if you can't feel it immediately).
what is left? allow what you are seeing to be here without filters or ideas; truly seeing.
(this is what this moment is like, without the story).
***a delicious addition to all of this is the contemplation from day one, where you place a part of your attention at the base of the heart as you are gazing out anew.
our lives are partly defined by the quality of our relationship with uncertainty.
todays offering, which takes us into a practice to help strengthen our capacity to be with this chaos, is brought to you by christopher wallis, a scholar and practitioner of tantrik philosophy and yoga (and my beloved).
many people say that there is a deep order in the universe, and of course there is . . . but chaos, randomness, is a part of that order.
the beautiful and perfect design of life necessarily includes chaos. no matter how much you try to build a completely stable secure existence, you know, deep down, that at any moment that stability could be challenged or even shattered by an unexpected event.
are you going to numb yourself to that fact?
or are you going to let it make you anxious and frightened all the time? . . . what is the alternative?
an alternative is this: to turn to the practices of yoga, of the spiritual life, now when things are more-or-less okay, so that you build an inner core of emotional strength and resilience so that when the shit really hits the fan, you can meet it, roll with it, grow from it.
no one -- NO ONE -- escapes the forces of chaos in this life. so what can you do to build a strong emotional body, so that when unexpected challenges arise, you will experience them more as a blessing than a curse?
the best way to build a strong emotional body is to fully digest the little challenges in day-to-day life. this is easier than you might think.
when you come home from a busy day (or any kind of day), simply put yourself in a restorative pose -- like lying on your back with your legs up the wall -- and review your day, noticing especially any feelings that came up that are still hanging out in your system.
when you notice some emotion that's unresolved, breathe into it and feel it fully. allow it to be.
feeling it fully doesn't mean going into the "story" associated with the feeling -- like "i can't believe he's such an inconsiderate asshole" -- but rather letting go of the story and just letting the anger or hurt or whatever move through you, neither resisting it nor making a big deal out of it.
when that feeling has moved through (which it will if you don't get wrapped up in the story) then look and see if there's anything else unresolved (from that day, not your whole life).
let it move through.
it's that simple. do this almost every day and you will be amazed at how your strength and resilience have grown in just the course of a few months.
rumi said (yes...it was only a matter of time before i brought him up)...
"your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it."
it works for truth too...it's not so much out there to be sought out, but in here, to be revealed.
spend a few moments to get quiet and listen inside.
(close your eyes, relax your body, attune to your breath).
then ask yourself this question:
what do i already know to be true that i'm not admitting to myself?
allow there to be space around any answers and questions that arise...
(some will find writing things down will be helpful)
throw the net far and wide, reaching any part of your life and listen deeply. could be something that seems big... or small.
perhaps listening is all that is needed right now or maybe you will get a spark of intuition that some action wants to happen.
wishing for you gentleness in your inquiry...and sending you love for the unravelling...
today i felt a huge wave of fear moving through me. well. actually, it's still here...moving through.
what i have found is that if i get really intimate with my fear then i'm not at the mercy of it and it doesn't take me spiralling downwards into the web of all the stories. (the ones i make up as to why the fear is there.)
in these moments it is the perfect invitation to turn inside, to greet what is moving through, murky though it may be, and start to inquire...
what is happening here?
getting curious changes everything, along with the realisation that i do not need to understand, figure out, process or heal any feeling or emotion flowing through me, but simply meet each one in full acceptance and awareness.
underneath the story of why you feel this way and whose "fault" it is -- (there's nobody to blame) -- there is an vast aliveness that shape shifts into a million nuances of feeling, expressing itself as this or that. it is nothing but pure being that we are slapping a label on - "i am so angry" etc...
at the nucleus of that pure being is an even deeper aliveness, that which all these states flow in and out of… the very essence of you.
your own anger, hurt, fear or shame is the portal,
the access point to that essence.
grounding in - 2 minutes
find a place you can be still for a few moments.
relax the hinge of the jaw. the lips may part slightly.
(this will help you drop right down into your heart)
focus on the sensation of the feeling.
(where is it in the body? heat? cold? tingling? movement? anything else? notice it all. listening deeply, now.)
just drop the labels - anger / fear etc… allow them to dissolve.
this is how we dive underneath the waves of "story" to be intimate with what is happening now.
drop deeper into the heart
feel it fully.
because there's no way out but through.
if more is needed....
this is a bit cheesy, but it really works for some people.
stroke your chest or anywhere that feels soothing whilst repeating simple phrases to the vulnerable one inside you, such as:
"it's all ok"
"i feel you"
"i love you"
when there are strong emotions, i often tell myself to allow the "streaming beauty" to flow through me.
this poem is attributed to rumi…
"if you want peace and purity,
melt away your coverings.
this is the purpose of emotion:
to let a streaming beauty flow through you.
call it spirit, elixir, or the original agreement
between yourself and god.
opening into that
gives peace, a song of being empty,
here's to y/our streaming beauty.
unconditional freedom = freedom in all conditions.
freedom (along with love) is my highest value.
to find out if i am truly free, perhaps the most effective way is to find conditions that take me to my edge.
we are not talking about freedom to do something but freedom fromall that is binding you, like mind-created suffering, cultural conditioning, self-images and that sort of thing.
grounding - 2 mins
let your jaw soften, as we have been practicing...
writing the answers to these questions -
(could take 2 - 20 mins, how long do you have?)
is there a self-image i am holding onto
that isn't supporting my natural freedom?
(a self-image is a belief beginning with 'i',
like 'i'm not a good mother' or 'i am a nice person')
you don't have to let the self-image go, just loosen your grip a little...
or a lot.
and / or
does anything have a hold over me
that i can see a reason to release?
mine in 2014 was sugar. so i stopped eating any sort of sugar whatsoever for 9 months and that liberated me from its grip . . .
as for you, you don't have to release it, but can you see a reason to?
that's step one -- (intimacy with): your growth edge
step two involves action and a deeper practice but this may be enough already to inspire you. if you want to go deeper, click here
so...i wasn't there, but apparently many years ago a zen monk said something along these lines -
heaven and earth are of the same root...the 10,000 things and i are of the same substance.
connection and intimacy with the 10,000 things is my home base.
when i get lost and wander off i have a set of practices that bring me home. some go really deep. i'm sharing a couple of the entry points with you here....
question: what can i say yes to that i haven't ever said yes to before?
(listen, write maybe, what comes from the asking...)
honestly, don't you want to release your grip on the illusion of control sometimes?
we can align ourselves with the change that is inevitable. say yes to it. try something we haven't tried before.
action: just see how unedited you can be for a day in all your interactions (with others and with yourself)
(it sounds obvious but it's pretty edgy when you start truly seeing how much editing goes on in our relating.)
give the people you interact with the intimacy of who you really are without selecting for them the parts that are most loveable.
be gentle with this, it's not that healthy to simply take the 'truth pill' and set off bombs underneath all your relationships...!
having said that, you can increase your personal power by saying things that you think you don't want to say. you can stand in the middle of the fire, even whilst thinking you will be abandoned if people see the true you.
see what happens.
being accepted for who you really are instead of the promotional material is extremely potent heart medicine.
what happens when you keep being you, unedited and free? then you become an incentive for other people to be the same. call me idealistic but that turns me on.
i wrote and deleted a 1008 words and decided...adyashanti puts it best.
we don't need to get the experience of stillness that he is pointing to.
it's already inside, to be remembered.
the waves of the mind
demand so much of Silence.
but she does not talk back
does not give answers nor arguments.
she is the hidden author of every thought
she speaks only one word.
and that word is this very existence.
no name you give Her
can embrace Her.
mind throws itself at Silence
demanding to be let in.
but no mind can enter into
Her radiant darkness
Her pure and smiling
the mind hurls itself
into sacred questions.
but Silence remains
unmoved by tantrums.
She asks only for nothing.
but you won’t give it to Her
because it is the last coin
in your pocket.
and you would rather
give her your demands than
your sacred and empty hands.
we shall not cease from exploration
and at the end of all our exploring
will be to arrive where we started
and know the place for the first time
t. s. eliot
who are you really?
your name? your occupation? the roles you play?
what if you don't exist the way you think you do?
waaaaay down underneath all the layers of the ideas of who you are, there you are....
what doesn't change?
what doesn't come and go?
the fundamental feeling of being you.
wide open conscious present you-ness.
what's it like in there?
tune in to what it feels like to be you, now.
what is it like to be your body right now?
what is it like to be your breath right now?
what is it like to be your mind right now?
what is it like to be your feelings right now?
then let all of the labels and ideas dissolve.
realise that what you are doesn't need to be labelled, understood, figured out, transformed or even healed.
only when we are intimate with how we are feeling in each moment can we ask ourselves the essential question
‘what do I need right now?’
...and that intimate question the beginning of self-care.
my wish for you is that you may stay intimate with all parts of yourself, all ways.
you're all right, you are.