K a r i n E l i z a b e t h
The truth is always realized in silence.
Our minds are filled with an endless stream of thoughts, of conversations. Without awareness, we entertain those thoughts, engage in those conversations. Mindlessly. Fruitlessly. The streams are replaying moments in our lives that have already happened: we may think about a hidden meaning in the speaker's words or fantasize about how we could have responded differently. The streams forecast situations that may happen in the future: we create scenarios and fantasize how the various characters will behave in those moments. In all of these preoccupations, we are living in a time that does not exist. All that exists is this moment. When our attention is on events real or imagined in the past or the future, we rob ourselves of fully experiencing the present moment; we rob ourselves of experiencing our actual lives.
Meditation means, To become familiar. It is a practice of becoming familiar with one's own mind, with the nature of the mind. Meditation techniques all have the same purpose: to give the mind a place to rest, a place to focus, so it can disengage from the endless stream of thoughts. When you are able to disengage from the thoughts for even a moment, you can observe the process, the nature of the mind. When you can observe the nature of the mind, you begin to understand how all-consuming the unbridled mind can be.
Meditation and Reiki
When you try to explain reiki with words, the words fall away. You see the experience rising, like a dream, but when you try to express the experience with words, they dissolve on your tongue. Because reiki is not tangible and perceptible with the ordinary mind, the mind that functions most commonly in this physical world. Reiki is of the subtle aspects of existence, and it is through experience that we come to truly understand reiki.
In your training class, you learned some theory and a basic foundation from which to begin your practice. Now you're on your personal journey with understanding through experience. Reiki must be experienced to be understood.
Perception is a means of communication when practicing reiki, and perception by its nature requires stillness. It requires attentiveness. It requires quietude. When you support your reiki practice with a meditation practice, you are enabling yourself to engage with the doors of perception more fully. The mind stills, and perception filters in. You learn to listen. You learn to respond. You learn to effect deep change.
Meditation is inner work. To support your reiki work, it is something you do to enhance your perception of the subtle flow of energy transmitted through reiki. It begins with the establishment of a practice, usually a sitting practice. This establishment concretizes your commitment. Soon, you expand your meditation beyond the sitting practice. Working beyond the sitting practice does not negate the important work of the sitting practice; indeed, the work beyond is consistently strengthened by the commitment to the sitting practice.
It is like any work: always stay connected to your roots. Your roots form a very powerful foundation to which you return and relax in to the familiar. It is nourishing, and it is restul. Deep, restful connection with your foundation acts to rejuvenate you; it strenthens you so that more can be realized. You are like the oak. The deeper your roots, the mightier you grow.
Developing a Personal Practice
Begin by remembering the meaning of meditation: To become familiar. Become familiar with your self. Become familiar with your proclivities, and become familiar with your responsibilties. Without criticism or judgement, decide how much time and with what frequency you will experience success in developing a personal practice.
You may choose to carry a small notebook or make a notepage on your phone for a week or two so that you can record how you spend your time. This is only for your eyes, so feel free, and be honest. At the end of your recording period, create a visual chart demonstrating how you spend your time. You may be surprised to find that if you reduced how much time you engage in social media by fifteen minutes a day, you'd still have forty-five minutes a day to keep up with those things that matter to you and have fifteen minutes a day to meditate.. You may find that after dinner every night, you plunk down on the sofa with your family for your favorite tv programs, but yours doesn't come on for twenty minutes after you're all settled in. You could take fifteen minutes to slip away to your own space, and still return in plenty of time for your program.
What's important is that you start. In time, you may observe yourself making more room in your life for your sitting practice. Likewise, you may find yourself making choices about how you spend your time that incorporate more moments of mindful presence. Just begin, and let it grow from there.
When to Meditate?
Agree on the same time each day to begin your practice. This helps your body and mind to become familiar with the practice, and this familiarity helps you sink in to practice more easily.
Where to Meditate?
Choose a dedicated place of practice. In much the same way that your body and mind become familiar with the time at which you sit, so too will these aspects of you become familiar with the place in which you sit.
You can choose to make this a place adorned with inspiration and reminders of your religious or spiritual traditions, or you can choose to make this the only location in your house where others will not disturb you, such as a walk-in closet. You may choose to wrap up in blankets and sit on your porch, or you may decide to walk down your road and step into the forest a few feet. If you have chosen to sit on your lunch break at work, you may decide to close your office door and place a chair by the window, or you may find a tree and a bench at a nearby park.
Live in the market, but don't let the market live In you.
It is not always possible to have a place to practice that is free of distraction, noise, and life. And that is okay. You can create space wherever you are.
You can create space with a blanket or shawl wrapped around you. When you arrive to your dedicated place of practice, take a moment to acknowledge, "And with this shawl, I retreat." Then wrap yourself in the shawl, and go within. When your practice is complete, use a similar statement of intention to emerge, "I remove this shawl and return to the world." If you forget your shawl one day, you can do it with the intention of your invisible cape.
The practice of meditation begins with establishing an anchor, a place to focus your mind. If the only physical location for you to be alone is doing dishes, let the melody of the task be your anchor. Tune in to your various senses, in turn. Bring your attention to the tactile sensation of the water and then of the suds touching your skin. Observe the sensations. Next, focus your attention on nearby sounds. Hear the deep thoomp of plates submerged in the water, and the tinkling splishes made by your dishcloth as it emerges from the water. If the only physical location for you to be alone is weeding the garden, let Nature's symphony be your anchor. Allow your attention to focus on the sound of one bird, or the sound of the breeze. Focus on the temperature of the soil as your fingers burrow in, the qualities of the plant stems as your fingers grasp them, the textures of the leaves as your fingers brush past them. Experience the stillness. Listen. Listen more closely. In time, respond.
The easiest anchor for meditation is your breath. It is always with you. Ready yourself of time and place, veil youself from outside distraction, and sink in. Bring your attention to the natural flow of your breath. You don't need to change it or judge it. Just observe. Begin here.
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