21-Day Meditation Challenge – Day 16: Connection to the Self
We all have experienced at one time or another the quick change of mood or changing of the mind. Growing up with 5 brothers I remember lots of quick, youthful male energy with quick mood changes, developing into spontaneous yelling or actual physical fighting. Not good. I see that if we had taken even a few moments to chill out and get back to ourselves, many of those conflicts wouldn’t have happened.
To me, the most important thing that mediation can teach is that thoughts and feelings come and go – they aren’t permanent. We might feel a certain way in a moment, but something can happen and the next moment it’s different. You may start the day feeling one way, and end it feeling another. That doesn’t mean thoughts and feelings aren’t real, it just means they are temporary. The importance of practicing acknowledging your feelings and thoughts is it gives you an avenue to the unchanging Self underneath all the change. The Self that is steady, happy, kind, bright, and constant. To me, remembering and finding a connection to that Self is the purpose of meditation and yoga.
So, in this mediation I invite you to fully experience what you are feeling, what you are thinking, and practice to let those feelings and thoughts pass. Practice recognizing that feelings and thoughts can and do pass if you let them. And, by doing that, it helps you uncover a greater Self.
To begin, sit in any manner that is comfortable and pain free. Lying down is an option if a comfortable sitting position isn’t possible today.
Beginning with your body, open your awareness to how you physically feel in this moment, without judgement. If you have places in your body that feel really good, recognize that. If you have places that have pain, acknowledge that as well. Be open to where you are physically today, knowing that physical pleasure comes and goes, physical pain comes and goes. Let yourself acknowledge how your feel today, without defining yourself by it. These are just feelings of the body, they aren’t you.
Now turn to the mind. What are you thinking about? Does your mind feel like it’s vast and open, like it’s in a giant field, or is it boxed in, as if there is no room for your thoughts? Acknowledge what your thoughts are, and that you have thoughts. Allow your thoughts to be set free, as if removed from your mind by a gentle breeze. You may have positive thoughts, you may have negative thoughts. You may have amazing creative ideas. With all your thoughts, acknowledge them, and allow them to flow from your mind.
Bring your awareness to your heart. What emotions are you feeling right now? Does your heart feel heavy or light? Is there a color or texture to your emotions? Truly feel, recognize and embrace the fact that you feel, and are feeling at this moment. Allow yourself to feel without the feeling attached to anything else. It’s just a feeling. Let it be.
Now sit and be. Coming back to feelings in the body, mind, and heart as they come to your awareness, and letting them all be. Allowing yourself to be your Self. Letting your body feel, your mind think, your heart feel, with the experience and reaching through those feelings and thoughts to something more permanent. Finding something that feels steady within you and anchoring yourself to that energy, even if for a short moment.
After a period of time that is appropriate for you, slowly back yourself out of the mediation by starting with the feelings of the heart, then the thoughts in the mind, then your physical sensations. For your own knowledge, notice if these physical, mental and emotional experiences have shifted at all for you. Maybe so, maybe not. Be open to whatever comes.