Group - Mindfulness in Action

Group – Mindfulness in Action

Last night I attended the Open Heart Crystal Bowl meditation at Third Eye Healing Centre at Margate. I facilitate meditation groups myself and recently what has been powerfully reinforced to me is how important the group energy of meditation is. Practicing meditation daily, and mindfulness continually is not something that usually comes naturally. It is a skill/tool we learn along the way – just like making our bed or brushing our teeth. Proficiency and integration is a process that is likely to develop more powerfully with practice, reinforcement, commitment, and support.

I am definitely dedicated to my spiritual life and meditation practice. Even so there are times where my meditation practice “falls off the wagon”. I started facilitating a new group recently to help me get back on the wagon and whilst it was a powerful motivator to walk my talk, as well as provide the support for other meditators, I still struggled with my daily meditation routine and life challenges as they arose. I have recently revisited other groups that give me a chance to participate as a member, where the only contribution  and responsibility was showing up. This has refreshed my enthusiasm through the energetic contributions of like-minded people. My daily practice feels much richer for my effort of taking care of my spiritual needs this way. I’m sure the groups I facilitate will benefit vicariously from this too.

I notice as I am confronted by more challenging aspects of life, the more I need to practice, and at times the more difficult I find it to actually sit and be with the physical feelings of agitation, the ruminations, and the emotions that arise. This is especially the time to stop a perfunctory attitude to life and make a conscious effort – take meditation action! The action I have taken recently was to find a local group that I resonate with – Third Eye Healing Centre as I mentioned earlier, and also revisiting the Caboolture Mindfulness Practice Group – a local sangha who practice the Buddhist teachings of Plum Village founded by Thich Nhat Hanh.

Participating in a group can be disconcerting for some people. Group meditation is not usually about sharing personal information or being exposed in vulnerability. Therapy groups are more likely to engage in more personal exposure, always at a participant’s level of comfort and permission. Group meditation is about sitting in a process of meditation with others and sharing the focused energy that is created in the process of doing “inner” work. The inner work could be a mindfulness practice, inner journey, or whatever the meditation process is that resonates with you. This can change over time and with needs as they arise. There is no sharing of your personal meditation experience required in a meditation group even if invited to do so.

I find that Mindfulness Meditation gives me a strong foundation of presence with whatever type of inner work I choose to engage in. I practice mindfulness of breath often during my day. All it takes is to become aware of my breath in the moment and stay with it as long as is practical, depending on what I’m doing. When I take the time to sit and meditate I always start with breath awareness and either stay with that or then progress to other forms of meditation. This includes when sitting in groups. I find my meditation focus is actually easier in a group setting.

No matter what type of meditation resonates with you, finding a group that feels supportive to you is right up there with the priority of taking time in your daily life to practice some form of meditation. Attending a group on a weekly basis allows you to contribute, and receive, from the synergy created by the group. Synergy of a group is also beneficial to the community at large. Energy knows no boundaries. Imagine how beneficial your contribution is to the world each time you meditate with loving intention for yourself, and even more so when you practice with a group…

Life will continue to be a process of highs and lows. Learning how to manage the highs and lows is something we can take

Water Crystal affected by Love - Masuru Emoto

Water Crystal affected by Love – Masuru Emoto

responsibility for. When we discover suitable ways to do our inner work and we know where to find external support to our process, we have an opportunity to experience life with a richness and appreciation that infuses throughout our days. Attending a regular group meditation is one way you can tap into external support for your inner process and growth. Find a group that resonates with your values and beliefs and make a commitment to yourself to attend. Be open to changing to a new group if a group ceases to fulfill your needs – don’t just stop going.

Wishing you joyful and sustained meditating throughout your life process.

Love and light always

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Paying Attention and Attending To…

Meditation is not about attaining some ideal, it’s recognizing who you already are, the beauty that’s already present.

These are wise words you’ll hear in the video clip below.  How powerfulit is to stop attaining something  - an ideal – that we are not, in this moment. It does not mean we will always be the same. We are changing continually moment by moment. Each breath we take changes us. Each person we encounter, changes us. Each experience changes us. Life is a process. Acceptance with awareness is about paying attention to what is real and attending to what we actually need to, to be love and be loving.

A beautiful poem by Derek Walcott

Love after Love

“The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.” ~ Derek Walcott

Jon Kabat-Zinn recites this poem at the conclusion of a wonderful talk on Mindfulness and Meditation he presented at Google. Here is the video. I share this time and time again. For a great intorduction to Mindfulness and Meditation please watch and share.

Love and light to all …

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The past week has been a deliciously rich time of introspection and recalibration for me; for my heart. A journey of ups and downs witnessed with self-awareness and in part shared with a friend and mentor who allowed me the space to bounce my thoughts of a trusted sounding board. The trigger for the increased momentum of an emotional roller coaster was Valentine’s Day; now passed for another year.

My conditioned response to Valentine’s Day had me riding a wave of expectations. My expectations were of needing demonstrated attention and affection from an intimate other, and on the flip side, expectations of unrequited love from past experience. As I reflected on the range of mixed emotions that arose I realised my deepest aspirations of love, and how I truly wanted to experience love. As anger, grief and disappointment ebbed and flowed through me, I noticed the memories and associations I harbored about love. I noticed it wasn’t really “love” at all. My past experience in many different kinds of relationships was more about needing other people to fulfill a huge chasm within me that I had no idea, or skills, on how to fulfill myself. The past 19 years has been a slow road to consciousness to discover this aspect about life that many people experience.

My Valentine’s thoughts moved to my children, my mother, dear friends and a beautiful intimate soul who has come into my life. My heartfelt realisation is that love for all these people in their different roles in my life is all the same; my ability and the appropriateness on how to express love varies, the depth not so much. I meditated throughout the past week on emotions, on how I shut down, and on opening my heart, feeling my body as it responded to all that arose. I feel blessed to know that even though there are road blocks to my understanding and expression of love, the deep aspiration of my soul is to feel and express loving kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity.

This beautiful Sunday morning I picked up a Mindfulness Bell Magazine borrowed from my Sangha library, which has been floating around for 3 weeks now. The timing was perfect. The major theme of this publication is True Love. It contains articles about love between couples, a mothers’ love, and other themes about loving kindness. The underlying message in all these touching stories and teachings is our ability to come back to ourselves and water the seeds of love within. The articles relate many powerful events people have experienced. Events that often teach people to foster anger, guilt, shame and blame. These all affect our ability to love ourselves and see that we are perfect just as we are, that all our experiences shape the beautiful soul who is there looking back in the mirror every day: A beautiful soul that is often crying out to be loved.

Image from Dodinsky,com

I read a beautiful quote by Dodinsky this morning and I would love to sow a seed for you to water here today.

“You have to love yourself because no amount of love from others is sufficient to fill the yearning that your soul requires from you.” ~ Dodinsky

I wish you well on your journey within to opening your heart. I am on the same journey too and it’s often a bumpy road. I feel my heart open more and more towards myself every day. I see and feel the effect of mindfulness the more I practice. I love that as people come and go in my life, I am responsible for my love, my joy, and my happiness. I love that I have so much more to give to others as I open my own heart to me. As I grow in love I see so much beauty and perfection in other souls. I understand and appreciate all our journeys much more deeply.

Love and light …

Recommended reading: True Love –  A Practice for Awakening the Heart. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

 

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Leadership, Role Models, and Nelson Mandela

Nelson-Mandela-on-Love

Nelson Mandela – on Love

This week I, along with many other people, celebrate the life of Nelson Mandela who passed on from his earthly incarnation. My heart was filled with emotions of gratitude for the change Nelson Mandela created, sadness for the loss of his embodied influence, and great joy at having been exposed to his wisdom, and knowing his life will be influential for a long time to come.

I purchased one of his books on kindle called Conversations with Myself, hungry for his inspiration knowing that his personal wisdom is now limited to whatever legacy exists here and now. The book is filled with musings, excerpts, communications that have been preserved and now shared with the world. If you are inspired and motivated by this man you may enjoy this book. I am taking my time and savouring the words like a deliciously nourishing feast, those tasty morsels which stand out for me before I move on to the next course/chapter.

Some of the “stand out” notes so far:

“I came to accept that I have no right whatsoever to judge others in terms of my own customs, however much I may be proud of such customs … that to despise others because they have not observed particular customs is a dangerous form of chauvinism… I shall neither impose my own customs on others nor follow any practice which will offend my comrades”. This insight occurred after Mandela noticed his own “revulsion” when a friend had not observed a particular custom. Self awareness allowed him to observe “prejudice of my youth and to accept all people as equals.”

On politics Mandela mused “Only arm chair politicians are immune from committing mistakes. Errors are inherent in political action. Those who are in the centre of political struggle who have to deal with practical and pressing problems, are afforded little time for reflection and no precedents to guide them and are bound to slip up many times. But in due course, and provided they are flexible and prepared to examine their work self critically, they will acquire the necessary experience and foresight that will enable them to avoid the ordinary pitfalls and pick their way ahead amidst the throb of events.” The ownership of fallibility in this passage is relevant to anyone in any situation. The ownership of responsibility and preparedness to accept, forgive, and move on, with a lessons’ seed firmly implanted in the mind and heart, growth and change can take root. How would life be different here on earth if people in powerful positions held the values and ethics that foster this view? This could be anyone from older siblings and parents to corporate, political and religious leaders.

Like it or not we are influenced by that which we place our attention on. Life is filled with role models and leaders and each one of us is a role model and leader to those in our personal world. How do you do life? Who influences your thoughts, emotions, and actions? I am aware of being influential and of many different influences on me. Some of them conditioned and not necessarily poised in the greatest of values or intentions. As my self-awareness grows and my intentions become firmly devoted in loving kindness and compassion, I become more conscious of when “less than helpful” thoughts, emotions, and actions arise. I become more aware as my judgments, prejudices, and unkindness pops up to show me I am not perfect. Then the challenge is to practice loving kindness and compassion to myself, to heal, and to see how I might choose to do life differently next time.

An observation noted in the pages of this book is that Nelson Mandela most often carried a note book with him throughout his adult life. He was often seen taking notes. Many of these notes have been introspective along with practical memos etc. Over the last week I have been motivated to write more of my thoughts down in my journal and take notes of my thoughts as I read, reinforcing something I already knew to be true. The practice of keeping a journal is a very powerful tool to expand self-awareness. Reading how Mandela was a note taker and then reading some of his musings reignited my enthusiasm for my journal practice. The act of writing thoughts down helps integrate self-awareness into our being, rather than a thought that rushes past on the whisper of a breeze felt gently, and gone again in an instant. There are many different ways to keep a journal: hand written, computer documents, artistic creations, voice recording, and ways I haven’t even thought of. Getting our thoughts out into a space where they can be explored and perhaps expanded upon facilitates our understanding and acceptance of what our personal traits really are. We can also discern how these traits have been beneficial as well as detrimental. A journal can be a private affair, a love affair with ourselves, an opportunity to communicate, argue, make up, and befriend every aspect of self. I have the distinct impression that Nelson Mandela learned much about himself along the way and his very public life demonstrated evolution and growth. As I read Conversations with Myself, I imagine his note taking was highly influential.

I choose role models, and leaders who exemplify living a life I aspire to live. I model them as far as I am able and to the extent it feels relevant to me. I also recognise that I am unique and it is the values that I choose to emulate and so I will at times work at the methods and practices a leader uses to live out their values. Role models I choose could be dear friends, family, colleagues, and not limited to global personalities. The impact of unity, kindness, helpfulness, and goodness is the model I wish to have as my influence on my world.

Nelson Mandela was headed down a path of terrorism. Had he not been captured and jailed I wonder how far his acts of violence and terrorism would have continued. Thankfully his path changed and evolved into a process of freedom through peaceful influences, rather than retaliation and notoriety through attacking the enemy. We all live and hopefully learn. We all have the potential for terrorism; just as we all have the potential for peace and love. I am grateful for Nelson Mandela, his imperfections, his evolution, his words of wisdom and his legacy. May he rest in peace…

Love and light

Jen

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Hello World

Hi Folks.

For Counselling, Psychotherapy and mindfulness/meditation enquiries please email info@kissprinciple.com.au or phone Jen 0437640053

Consultations now available in my new practice in Redcliffe  and by phone or Skype, by appointment only. Contact me today for an appointment.

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Have a great day,

Love and light

Jen

Keep it simply spiritual :-)

 

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