SET an INTENTION
Let's assume you are already well versed in all of the benefits of meditation and you are eager to jump into the practice. What is your intention for your practice? Intention setting is based in the present moment. It is different from a goal which lives in the future. Think of it as an adverb, like playfully or authentically or fiercely. How do you intend to proceed? Tethering your practice to an intention expands the meaning of your practice.
Need help setting an intention? I've got a helpful guide that's all yours.
BUILD the CONTAINER
Through whatever practice you choose, you are building a container. Many of us were not taught what to do with our big feelings, with our sorrows, humiliations, anger, fear and joys. They can overwhelm us in their rawness. Instead we turn to numerous things that numb us to the present moment, and then we miss out. I dissociated from both fear and joy for years. We miss out on the juiciness of our experience, on our own authenticity. When you practice you are building the container. That container will hold the space for whatever comes up. Eventually you might decide what to place inside.
We're going to make it strong. Then when you sit with the contents, acknowledging them with love and awareness, you'll be able to stay present. Building anything strong and well takes time. Give yourself time.
Love AND awareness. Can we hold both simultaneously? Can we see the whole of something or someone, maybe even ourselves, truthfully and yet hold tenderly, non-judgmentally? A LOT of research points to this being the secret sauce of mindfulness and meditation.
My teacher Jenn Prugh often says that without truth, love is blind, and that without love, truth is cruel. Cultivating non-judgmental awareness is how we move past the duality and embrace the paradox.
In the beginning you might experience flashes of spaciousness, hovering in the presence of the Witness Self. Eventually those moments connect more frequently. The busy swirling chattering everyday self quiets for a moment, maybe two. The stories slip away. You find yourself resting in awareness.
Then we attempt to access that spaciousness in our day to day lives. This is where the rubber meets the road. The triumphs and challenges of everyday life become part of the practice. When it all hits the fan how do I stay present? How do I access my strong container? Maintain non-judgmental awareness? How might I experience feelings without telling stories or assigning meaning? Notice the patterns. Notice typical reactions and attempt responsiveness. Forgive all the imperfections and celebrate the effort. As Ram Dass would say, we're polishing the mirror.
It's messy, and transformative.