I participated in a live online meditation the other day. I’ve been meditating every day for over two months but knew I needed something new to take it to the next level.
The thing about meditation as a practice is that you never arrive anywhere.
You gain insight and understanding, sure, but the practice itself IS the true destination. It’s the perfect antidote to my results driven, impatient personality. Who knew practicing something would be the whole journey? No set results, no expectations, no selfish gain. Just, practice.
It’s a humble place to be, this practicing thing. Anyway, it was led by Craig Hamilton whose work has struck a cord with me and I was expecting some pretty groundbreaking stuff.
He suggested that we sit comfortably for an hour and let ourselves be. “Just, let it be,” he said.
Half an hour in and I was pretty uncomfortable trying to ‘let it be’. I kept wanting to focus on something, a positive thought or affirmation, God, Love, something. But that wasn’t the purpose of this particular practice. The purpose was to let it be.
Every thought, every feeling, every negative or uncomfortable sensation. Allow it, let it be. Don’t interfere, control, wrestle with or exacerbate, just Let. It. Be.
It was probably the most difficult type of practice I’ve done so far. It sounds so simple, to just let it be. And it is.
But the ego thrives on more. More thinking, more feeling, more pain, more suffering, more, more, more. It creates a world of its own that doesn’t exist in reality, and we’ve spent so long believing it that we associate ourselves with it rather than us. The real us. The us behind our thoughts and feelings.
It knocked me for a six, this one.
My day afterwards was fraught with anger and fear! It was actually pretty interesting to witness the reaction of my ego when I merely let it be.
People (including me) tend to think that meditation is the pathway to inner peace, and while that may be so, it doesn’t mean we stop thinking and feeling negatively. Plus, introducing a practice like this into our ego-driven minds often sends it for a tailspin as it tries to recalibrate and fight for survival.
I’m so grateful I had a hard time with this one. So much so I’ve been going back for more.
The other morning I was woken by a rogue mosquito (arrrrrh!) and couldn’t get back to sleep. “Just let it be,” came the message. On the surface I was annoyed, anxious about being tired the next day, but underneath all the negativity was stillness; acceptance; peace. Instead of fighting for sleep I decided to practice. I sat for forty minutes in the blackness and ‘let it be.’ The night sounds, the thoughts, the feelings. Just allowed them to be.
Any discomfort I sense during this practice is an illusion of the ego. It really does try anything to ensure its survival, which is entirely based in fear. I know this practice is a great one for me, because it doesn’t come easy.
I can’t promise you any results from this, as it will be different for everyone. But there is a spaciousness arising between me and my thoughts and my feelings. I still have them, and occasionally I get involved with them, but then I just come back to ,”Let it be.” I sing the Beatles song to myself, I chant the words. I’m not fighting anything, just letting it be.
I wonder if you could take the next five minutes or any five minutes over the course of the next 1,440 minutes in this day, to be still and let it be. Allow your thoughts and feelings, however uncomfortable, to be, but don’t get into them.
Every thought and feeling is equal; every one is allowed. None of them are ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ they just are.
Let it be, let it be.
I wonder what difference that five minutes would make to our level of awareness, which we then bring into every interaction with our friends, families and fellows. I wonder…
We don’t need to call it meditation, because I know so many people already believe they can’t ‘do’ meditation. But can you be still and let it be, for five minutes? The ego tries to throw every excuse at us as to why we cannot or should not do this. Mine can be unrelenting! But there is great power in moving past the bondage of thought into the realm of what actually is. Call it spirit, awareness or truth, whatever you like.
You are not your thoughts and feelings; you exist on the other side of them, resting in pure awareness, just letting them be.
I’ll be posting these #soulshots around social media as a way of sharing the gifts of my practice. In fact, they are a part of my practice, because gifts only emerge when they are shared.
These #soulshots are designed to provide immunity against fear and unnecessary suffering for others. If they resonate with you, share them, either literally or figuratively in your daily life. And if you have any for me, please share them with the hashtag #soulshots so we can all find them!
Thanks for reading, I’m truly blessed to have you all along for the ride.