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Think – Day 3 – The daily practice of a peaceful life

“If you do not conquer self, you will be conquered by self.” – Napoleon Hill

“Change your thoughts and you will change your world” – Norman Vincent Peale

Those two sentiments from two amazing men underscore our objective this month.

We are out to change our world and conquer our self!

That is the result of practicing, and living a meditative life.

But before we dive in deeper today, how are you!?

Are you experiencing challenge in letting your thoughts go during meditation?

That is a super common issue…so please be kind to yourself.

This practice is not a perfectionist game of getting something right or achieving something.

It’s a PASSIVE activity and there is no ‘achievement goal’ at all.

Simply sit and breathe, notice your thoughts and just gently come back to your focus on the breath and your one word.

The passive attitude is perhaps the most important element in eliciting the Relaxation Response. Distracting thoughts will occur.”

Do not worry about them. When these thoughts do present themselves and you become aware of them, simply return to the repetition of the mental device. These other thoughts do not mean you are performing the technique incorrectly.  They are to be expected.” – Herbert Benson, M.D. (The Relaxation Response)

I cannot emphasize enough to just LET GO during your practice.

Allow yourself to just be!

There is no right or wrong here.  Some days my mind is flying a million miles a minute when I meditate…and that’s when I laugh!

It’s beautiful to observe the mind…no need to cry, because there is no right or wrong, good or bad in what we are attempting.

It’s just being present.  Here.  Now.

It’s beautiful that you are actually aware of your thoughts flying around rather than consumed in the whirlwind right?

And if you do get sucked into it??? No worries!

Once you notice, just gently bring yourself back to your ONE word and your breath.

That is the practice!

One other really helpful suggestion some meditation teachers suggest is to count up from 1 just before you say your word.  Start over once you reach 10.

This can be an additional help to focus your mind on the present and let go of thoughts coming in.

On the flip-side of ‘sucked into the whirlwind’ – there will come a time when you feel much clarity and peace…and sometimes a new challenge can arise!

It can become SUPER tempting to want to entertain all the inspired thoughts that pop up!

Sometimes the mind starts producing ALL SORTS of amazing ideas.

For me this can be ironic agony to my creative side because I really want to go write them down so I don’t forget…but I’m meditating!

This is a wonderful time to practice faith and allowing.

You’ll likely notice that all the important thoughts that arose will easily come back after meditation is over…it’s a matter of learning to trust oneself.

And if they don’t come back?  Trust that they weren’t necessary.

Just let these thoughts go…come back to your breath, your word, and the number if you were counting.

If I forget what number I was on I just start over again at one and go up to 10.

When you are focused one hundred percent on your breath, the heavy relaxed state of your hands, feet and body, and the number you are counting, there is liberation from the constant mind chatter…

…If only for that one moment until the chatter starts again.

That’s ok, liberate yourself again by simply letting go again.

This is such a simple, subtle practice, but it is amazing what it is subtly doing to your ability to live in peace and master your mind.

This is a lifelong practice that has compounding and cumulative effects

…so don’t expect to do this for a week or a month and then you’re all done.

And what is the goal of this daily practice?

The objective today is simply to sit and practice letting go and focusing your attention.

But this practice is simply a means to a much greater purpose.

“Even expert musicians practice scales. But that is not the goal. The concert is the goal, the beautiful music played.”

“The same with very experienced meditators. They still do formal sitting practices. But that is not the goal of meditation, how one lives one’s life is the goal of meditation practice.” – Shinzen Young, The Science of Enlightenment

It’s good to remember that the best musicians in the world still practice the fundamental scales regularly.

A simple daily practice is so important, but it’s not the end goal…

the beautiful music of a life lived amazingly is our goal… the practice is simply ‘The Way’ to that goal.

This is a practice that will guide you to greater and greater awareness throughout your life.

Awareness of your soul, your life, your body…everything.

And as awareness expands, beauty expands…your eyes open wider to the multitude of amazing intricacies of life and the universe.

And all this in addition to the wonderful physical health benefits.

So practice meditation today!  Enjoy it, have fun, be light and easy with yourself.

Make Today Amazing!