Tag Archive | time out

When you can’t think straight…MEDITATE!

 

 

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Recently I was really stressed by a situation that involved helping a loved one. A thousand thoughts and emotions flooded through my mind, I simply couldn’t think straight and the harder I tried the more tired and confused I became. Then someone said the magic words “LET GO” to me and I remembered to make time to meditate. In the spaciousness of meditation I was able to view my thoughts and emotions with a totally unbiased attitude. When your attitude changes your whole mind changes, even the nature of your thoughts and emotions change. I simply sat and watched my thoughts drift by like the sky watching clouds pass through it. I noticed love, fear, anxiety and a feeling of wanting to control the situation drift by but didn’t try to grasp them, cling to them or indulge in them. I merely observed that, like the wind, they came and went. In allowing them to flow through my mind while keeping my mind free of afterthoughts and possible solutions I found them quickly settle and from a new detached space I was free to see the reality of the situation. What I could change and what I just needed to let go. It was amazing what a difference it made.

Sogyal Rinpoche  said,

“In the ordinary mind we perceive the stream of thoughts as continuous in reality this is not the case , You will discover for yourself that there is a gap between each thought. When the past thought is past and the future thought has not yet arisen, you will always find a gap in which  Rigpa, the nature of mind is revealed. So the work of meditation is to allow thoughts to slow down, to make that gap more and more apparent.”

Learning to meditate certainly takes a bit of effort but the effort is more than repaid by the peace and clarity you find and yes the situation resolved itself, working out far better for everyone concerned, than I could ever have dreamed of.

Namaste!

 

 

 

Seeing The Path of Life.

 

 

If you look closely at the first picture you will see a gate, straight ahead, and just beyond the trees. It is hidden slightly by the mist but it is there waiting to be opened. Beyond the gate is a clear open field leading down to the beautiful Manning River This is one of my favourite places and if you were to go there you would find the trees are actually in straight lines making it really easy to walk through them. It is often the angle from which we are looking that changes the scene sometimes making things seem harder and more complex than they really are.

A change of perspective can change the whole picture, as you will see by the second photo.

In life there are many turning points and cross roads that present us with decisions to make. All too often the way forward appears unclear and sometimes even frightening.. A hundred scenes play out in our minds as we try to predict the outcome of our choices, we become more and more confused and the advice given by family and friends adds another layer of pressure as we try to take their expectations into the mix. At times like these I have found the only thing that works for me is to LET GO! 

I take time out, away from everyone including myself. 

You might think this is impossible in this busy world but it’s not! You don’t need to go to a tropical island, take holidays or go on a retreat, although all those would be nice, in reality all  you have to do is to make a little space in your day to have quiet time.

Once that space is made find” your special spot” and grab some paper and a pencil.

Is your special spot a bench by the sea, a quiet park or is it as close as a cushion on the floor of your bedroom.

Think of this time as “TIME OUT”, it’s not about making any decisions, they can wait. Nearly all decisions really aren’t as pressing as we feel they are, it’s just that we get so caught up in them and give them so much energy that they take us over

Let others, if there are any around you at this time, that you wish not to be disturbed. Put a sign on the door if necessary. Expect your wish for this necessary time to be respected. 

 When you sit in your spot BREATHE and as you do notice the feel of your breath on your top lip, really focus on the sensation, as you breath normally for a few minutes. Then starting with your toes clench, wiggle/shake and relax all your muscles in turn working up through your body and when you reach your eyes squeeze them shut tight and on opening them gaze softly downwards, along your nose and take a deep relaxed breath and release any last tension.

Have the paper and pencil at hand and if you feel you have to do something doodle or sketch randomly not trying to create anything but just freely letting the flow take you.

When you feel the flow stop or that you have had enough time out, put the paper away somewhere private, where you can find it next time DON’T TRY TO INTERPRET YOUR DRAWING. The action of drawing/painting itself is what provides the benefit to you as it changes the area of your brain that you are operating in.

Allowing yourself to go often to this space, even in short bursts, will help you become less stressed and allow you to take a step back from any difficulty and view it dispassionately from a distance and from varying perspectives.

I love the prayer…” God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.

                              Courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

When you feel ready or have to make the decision, go to this quiet space, get out your paper and pencil and look at what you would like to achieve before you begin. Write down everything you want and then narrow it down to the most important things to you. I realise there is a focus on “YOU” here but I am assuming here that you, like most people, put yourself, your desires and needs last.

It seems that for most of us the hardest person to love and forgive is always ourselves.

Take an honest look at how much you can achieve at this time, given what you have to work with, the time, strength and courage you have and then finally look for what is the best, most positive outcome possible at this point in time. Remember time changes most things and a series of small steps can take you as far, if not further, over time than huge difficult strides.

As the saying goes “From little things big things grow.”

Then TRUST,STEP FORWARD and ACT OR…. LET IT GO for the time being or until the time is right and you feel better prepared.

If you find yourself taking the second option on important decisions ask yourself “DO I NEED TO SEEK ADVICE FROM AN OUTSIDE PROFESSIONAL TO DO THIS”

Remember you can only do your best. NO ONE GETS IT RIGHT ALL THE TIME. Accept that you like everyone will make mistakes without the world ending and that if we forgive others they will generally forgive us, if not it really is their problem, we have no control over how others choose to feel.

Setting boundaries is hard but it is vital in life to respect ourselves just as much as we respect others.

I hope this helps a little, as I said, it works for me but then we are all beautifully unique and  have such different lives, needs hopes and aspirations, so honour your own journey. Namaste The spirit in me wishes the spirit in you every blessing. Enjoy your journey!

CREATING A PERSONAL RETREAT.

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Are you time poor with too many demands from work, family or other commitments to attend a retreat or do you simply not have the money to pay for one? Whatever the reason, there is a simple solution, CREATE YOUR OWN.

With a little planning and preparation you can honour yourself and take the time to focus on renewing your spirit and getting back in touch with yourself or perhaps even reach out towards the spiritual awareness you desire.

The first thing to remember is that you are worth the effort. If that isn’t a good enough reason to make time then perhaps for some reason you haven’t yet discovered the importance of self love, in that case, for the moment, focus on the benefits a retreat will bring to everyone around you. A calmer, happier, more positive and peaceful you will be able to give them greater support.

PREPARATION.

* FIND A SUITABLE TIME.

What is the best day of the week to do it. Fewer commitments. Easier for those living with you  to support your need for silence.

Children at camp, away visiting, partner away, quieter time at work etc. If none of these are happening organise for them to happen.

*PREPARE YOURSELF.

Look forward to this time. Think what will make it really work for me? If you are addicted to coffee, tea or some other stimulant that will prevent your mind from settling cut back gradually. It will almost impossible to meditate with a screaming headache.

You might like to purchase some small item to enhance the experience for you. (This is not essential but if this is a treat you are giving yourself buying a special candle, some incense, a crystal, religious object, flowers or some special music can mark it as special and make it more significant.)

*TELL EVERYONE YOU ARE UNCONTACTABLE.

If it is difficult for you to do this for any reason, for example if you feel you don’t wish to share what you are doing at work, but need to take time out, then give a good reason, there is no need to lie simply tell the truth. “I am  going to visit a close friend who needs me and I won’t have phone/internet reception until I return.” Remember that no one is so important that they can’t be done without. It will only be for a day. If you were to die right now it may be a nuisance to some but they would quickly find a way to do those jobs. Look at it this way, at least you’ll be back and most if not all the jobs can wait till then.  If any can’t then delegate them for the day.

*DRAW UP A PROGRAMME.

Decide the length and number of your sessions. Four 30 minute sessions may be enough for a start (or six to eight 30 minute sessions).

Decide on the type/types of meditation techniques you will use. Sitting with focus on breath, object, mantra or walking.

*FIND A SUITABLE PLACE TO MEDITATE.

It needs to be quiet, not too warm and airy.

*CHOOSE SUITABLE MUSIC IF YOU ARE USING IT.

*DECIDE WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO DO BETWEEN SESSIONS.

If you plan to read choose suitable texts. Spend time outside if you have a quiet garden. Physical labour is also suitable as is creating a mandala or artwork. Whatever the task focus mindfully on

*PREPARE FOOD BEFOREHAND.

Keep meals simple and frugal. Fruit, salad, bread, nuts, cheese. Drink only water or fruit juice.

*PREPARE YOUR MEDITATION SPACE.

HAVE WATER AT HAND.

HAVE A WAY OF MARKING THE PASSING OF TIME.

Suitable music with timed pieces can be used or have a watch/ clock in sight so you can time your sessions.

HAVE A BLANKET OR RUG AT HAND.

If you are sitting still you may get cold and hunting for one can be distracting.

*ENLIST THE SUPPORT OF ANYONE WHO LIVES WITH YOU.

So that you can keep silent all day. If you have pets and they may distract you take steps to prevent them doing this during your meditation times.

*TURN OFF ALL PHONES AND COMPUTERS.

BEGIN YOUR PERSONAL RETREAT.

ENJOY YOUR JOURNEY!