Many of us have already done lots of visualizations, manifestations, meditations and invocations. But life still seems heavy and hard. Is this just how it is to be human? It is about living a life consistently filled with worry and feelings we don’t want that resurface no matter how hard we try to separate from them?
It seems unjust if this is how it is. Buddhist teachings tell us, in the first of the Four Noble Truths, that “life is suffering.” If we take that at face value, then it can seem depressing. The fourth Noble Truth, however, says that through meditation, we can separate from the suffering which comes from the Ego, from the sense of separation that can make us feel alone, scared and desperate, to achieve freedom and oneness. It says that we can end our suffering by uniting with our true, higher consciousness, to our understanding that we are connected to the universe and all beings, with love and with all that is.
We may wonder, though, what is this oneness all about? And why does it seem so hard to reach? Especially for us regular people going about in our daily lives, with jobs, relationships and families that don't always feel so "spiritual". It might simply be that we forget.
We forget to notice our breathing and our thoughts.
We forget to observe our emotions and how they physically feel in our bodies.
We forget that we have support from sources of Higher guidance that want to help us.
We forget that we are Divine, spiritual beings with powers to create and manifest things in our lives.
We forget because it is easier to forget than to remember. It takes some work, some self-discipline, structure and commitment to un-do the habits wired into our brains.
The situation we are in is not entirely our fault. Few of us in Western society were taught from childhood to practice meditation (unlike in some countries, like India, where children are taught from the age of eight to do yoga, breathwork and light meditation.)
Our world truly would be a different place if all of us had been taught meditation from a young age. Through this practice of mindfulness, we observe our thoughts in an effort to let them go, to just observe the spaces between each thought.
By consistently doing this over time, we can effectively re-wire our brains so that we similarly let go believing, and listening to, the negative voice of the Ego Self. It is this voice that wants to keep us separated from our Divine essence and that wants to keep us in a state of stasis, unhappiness and even paralysis.
Thankfully, many schools and families these days are teaching yoga and meditation to children. Imagine the kind of enlightened society would be on this Earth fifty years from now if every child were to have this this opportunity.
As for the rest of us adults, we have a bit of an uphill climb ahead of us. We will need to diligently put some effort into changing our habits, knowing that the Ego Self tries to come up with many ways to get us to stop meditating in the first place.
To free ourselves from the spinning wheel of the mundane, here are a few ideas:
1) Make ourselves do it. Yes, that’s right. We can force ourselves to just notice our breath. It does not need to be a "big deal"- we do not have to sit on a shrine for an hour every day. Get up a little earlier (or make some time before bedtime), have a space already set up to lie/sit down, have some relaxing music or a guided meditation ready, and just notice the breath for 5 minutes. Just 5 minutes a day.
2) Remind ourselves. We can put reminders in our phones to take 10 breaths. And then we just stop what we are doing (when possible) we they pop up. Right away. We just pause (we almost always can do that).
3) Deal with the negative Ego voice. If the Ego voice keeps coming up with reasons why we can’t quiet our mind (“too busy/doesn’t work/can’t do it/don’t feel like it”), we can talk to it like an old friend we are trying to avoid. Have a conversation: “Listen, buddy, leave me alone. I’m going to do this now. Just for a minute. That’s it.” And minimize the news and radio and information overload that the Internet. It all fuels our fears/doubts/worries.
4) Get some support from people along a similar path so we can hold each other accountable and support one another. Many of us are experiencing awakenings right now in our lives, as part of our shift in consciousness, more than we might think. So talk about it! We can what is changing in us with others who understand. We are not alone and we need each other to make it through this.
5) Connect with higher guidance (Divine Source/Spirit/God, guardian angel(s), Archangel Michael, spirit guides, Jesus, Buddha, Mother Mary, spirit animals, whatever works). We can talk to them, even if just silently in our minds, whenever we choose. Start communication upon waking up and throughout the day. Visualize colors and light. And we might want to clear negative energy we inadvertently pick up with crystals, sage, oils, salt baths, connecting to the ground of Earth and intentional visualizations (just two minutes to do several times a day).
Even though we cannot go back and re-live our childhood to begin practicing meditation and developing spirituality from a young age, we can jumpstart the process right now with some consistent work. But it takes time - about two months to create a new habit if applied consistently - and it helps to begin peering through a new lens to view reality. Developing an understanding that the world we know that many believe is the “real world,” the endless cycle of “work, eat, sleep. work, eat, sleep,” is not necessarily how life is supposed to be. We are not meant to be living in such monotony and endless hours of work.
It takes courage to do all of this, and some discipline too. Let's summon up our courage to start doing things differently than many people around us. Courage to stand up for what we feel is right, not just because it is what most of our friends are doing. Courage to speak up for what we believe in, from a kind and compassionate heart. Courage to change our daily actions to the extent that others may notice what we are doing and hopefully will follow along.
The good news is that this is happening anyway, all over the world, It is easier to go with the flow now. We can accelerate our opening to our universal connectedness by immediately starting these new habits. The hardest part, as they say, is just getting to the cushion (or the mat). So no more waiting, no more trying. Just doing, as Master Yoda would advise.
Let's gather strength and step into a new way of being. We will likely find true freedom and truth for our lives, and our realities will be forever shifted and expanded.