Meditation... Learning to Receive
In preparation for the start of the 2017 meditation course, I began reflecting on my own practice and why I believe that I'm in any way ready to guide the path to mindfulness with others, when I am too often humbled as I stumble through mindful living, squeezing my imperfect meditation practice into an all too often chaotic life! None the less, meditation excites me, it transforms my experience of life and I am anxious to share the deep lessons of my own humble meditation practice with others and as the teacher, becoming a student yet again and always growing and learning from the wisdom of those around me! Here, in the decision to take on this calling to share meditation, I found myself at the planning process with the decision where to begin in front of me. What if my students only come to one class?!...What has been the deepest guidance that I have received from teachers along the way that I can use to ignite the same fire and commitment to meditate in my students? What or who can be there guide if they don't return to my classes? And how can I keep them hopeful as they stumble, just as I have? I received an answer: Prayer.
The first piece of guidance I received in my own formal training of meditation, was to develop a personal prayer. Well, I had been praying all my life, so this was within my comfort zone and I got on it... Asking for help, Asking for guidance, Asking for protection, and taking control of what I needed to Ask for as I was listing all the ways that I needed help from my God. Note... At that point, I was asking and demanding ALOT. I was expecting ALOT! Also, I really wanted to have an "EXPERIENCE". You know... become enlightened, have visions of my future, be told what to do next. I knew that I was so deeply connected to my God, that 'he' would reveal secrets to me! My ego told me that it was likely that "I was special" and could gain "powers" via meditation. <insert crying, laughter emoji here, with red cheeks of embarrassment.> Let's cut to the chase, I have had many experiences of an inflated ego, and here is where that EGO of mine was getting in the way, in a BIG Way. Any visions, colors or messages I focused on, wasn't guiding me to be more mindful or grateful, it was just guiding me to think about stories, entertain my already very active mind, and lead me down a path of esoteric expectations. While my life does have a place for esoteric interests, I quickly realized that what I needed to RECEIVE from a meditation practice wasn't from more time in those places of enchantment. What I needed was to let go of my expectations, my hopes of gaining and find a way to go inside, observe and listen. This friends, is the scary dark place within me, which we will hit on week 3 or 4 if you stick around, but first we have to get there! I had to first, let go of the power to control and open up to begin receiving.
To RECEIVE, I had to learn how to become empty; by letting go of what I want to get out of meditation and all the expectations that my ego had intended to gain. I began to learn about how to invite a state of empty presence into my practice; becoming open to receive. Here, the practice of starting with a prayer, entered my life and became my bridge to developing a time and focus for meditation in my daily life. And so it began, that using prayer as part of a ritual to begin meditation allowed me to become open to RECEIVE inner guidance each day. Prayer, bridges my intentions to receive into my meditation practice, the very place where I can become open to listen and actually do some RECEIVING. Prayer grounds my day, as I invite in the truth that I need to hear and develop trust, so that I can truly begin to listen and observe, both in meditation and as I notice the synchronicities and occurrences throughout my day, that call for mindful awareness.
My prayer practice, builds my ability to trust my meditation practice, in recognizing which guidance comes from my ego, versus which guidance comes from divine. Through trust, I recognize that there is something larger than myself, that needs to be heard and guide my life. I knew that in the past listening to my ego and being guided by my ego, had gotten me into some trouble, so learning to listen to divine for guidance seemed logical. To begin reminding myself to let go of my ego, I began inviting spirit to show me how I can serve each day. As I stated, my ego is quite strong, and yours probably is too, so becoming a humble servant and trusting listener of the answers you RECEIVE is hard and turning away from this is tempting. Our ego's will tell us that we don't have time for prayer or meditation each morning and try to trick us out of listening to divine and going back to the more self-gratifying ways of living by Ego's guidance! I need a daily reminder to approach my day this way, so prayer and connection with others in meditation, became a guiding force in my life. This is also why, I want to reach out to others and support their journey of mediation!
I want to share an inspiration that I found within an article reflecting on prayer. This was referring to a lesson within A Course in Miracles…. The Course teaches that Miracles are natural expressions of love. When I think this way, I consider how can I serve or be a channel of love today.
"Through prayer love is received, and through miracles <expressions of love> love is expressed." What is being discussed here is the experience of feeling God's Love and then letting the Holy Spirit take that Love and extend it through us. The goal of this, therefore, is to let ourselves become purified of any of the things that would hinder the Holy Spirit's using us as a channel for Love".
What has kept me grounded and committed, is the awareness of my own need to receive all the guidance I can get! I look to a higher power to guide me to let go of control and receive.
I encourage you to consider creating a 3 or more lined personal prayer or borrow one from a resource like A Course in Miracles, Pinterest, or your own Spiritual belief's resources!!! The key is using the same prayer repetitively, so that our ego mindset starts to learn through repetition of prayer and ritual that it's time to give over control to divine as we drop into an inner state of meditation and start to listen for guidance as to how we can best serve and show up for life, every day.
Components of Prayer as a Bridge to Meditation:
- Address a higher power. By opening to our Guides… God, Goddess, Universe, Angels or Inner Knowing, we begin the process of trust and letting go of our Ego Consciousness. Our Ego, likes to be in charge and judge, higher consciousness can be our guide.
Invite Protection. You can visualize yourself being surrounded by healing or universal energy or simply call upon a higher power with gratitude for protection today.
Open yourself to a receptive mindset. Here we are allowing ourselves to give over the power of our meditation to a higher power than our own needs and wants! Sending an invitation out to: "Guide Me Today" “How can I serve” "Thy will be done" "How can I serve or show up".... Here, the invitation is to receive what you need to guide your day or life… As a bonus: This will influence how you show up as you take the awareness from your meditation into your life each day!
Include a gratitude practice here or upon closing. Gratitude transforms your experience of life. TRY IT! The more you take time to recognize the gifts in your life through thanksgiving, the more you become aware of how blessed you are! If you are a writer. You can always include this in your journal too... essentially, get in the habit of 'counting your blessings' and developing a sense of thankfulness. This is powerful for shifting your experience or perception of life.
Closing. Seal your intentions. (Amen, Namaste, Blessed Be…)
Yours on this journey within,