Finding balance in one’s life can be a challenge. When I feel overwhelmed over a difficult situation, I turn to meditation. It is not a practice I have learned over night. I, in fact, read a book several years ago called Peace is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in everyday life. The lesson I took from that book is to take time to enjoy the moment, even the smallest moments such as smelling a flower. The popular phrase, “take time to smell the roses,” is true and I believe is a quote deriving from Buddhist philosophy.
Several years later, I found Raja Yoga. I enjoyed meeting with a “yogi” for personal reflection, enlightenment, connecting with my higher power, world peace ceremonies and guided meditation practices. It was very much a challenge to silence my mind and to be fully present for even 10 minutes at a time. I also cried, no sobbed, in my first session. It was as if I were letting go of such a heavy burden, these peaceful meetings took 100 pounds off of my soul.
It is important to mention one critical separation from Buddhism (loosely speaking) and other religions, Buddhists are non-judgmental and the religion centers around personal growth, discipline and reflection – this resonates with me. I believe, in large part because of Buddhism, I have found wisdom and courage in myself to navigate through very difficult times in my life. I have an attitude of gratitude for such a loving, non-denominational philosophy. The rules, from my experience, are so relaxed, one can even adopt other religions without even the slightest raising of the eye brow and this is even encouraged as Buddha did not give advice about the afterlife because he “did not remember a time when he was dead.”
In the present, I no longer meet with a yogi. I enjoy hot-yoga (very different) and the challenge to my body and mind to complete all of the moves and to not give up. I like to feel hot and/or warm – it is comforting to me and sweating off toxins is also freeing. My muscles, especially in my back, are very tight and bikram helps to loosen the knots and feel good – even after the session ends.
I also enjoy meditation alone. I have trained myself to control my breath – very slow and steady, which reduces stress and allows me to move into a meditative state. I focus on a still yet small object and think about nothing. I search you tube for various guided meditation and I just let go. I no longer cry and I can even meditate for longer periods of time without distraction – up to 30 minutes. I am grateful still for even one minute bursts of relaxation, peace and serenity in my day. It is surprising how many opportunities present themselves in even a single day to meditate when one is looking.
So take a moment today to sit alone, quiet and/or with a guided meditation recording playing and just simply be.