This is so much clearer to me now thanks to the meditation journey I have embarked on. I'm half way through a Teacher's Meditation course with the lovely Maggie Kay in Devon's glorious town for all souls - Totnes, and we are learning the magical simplicity of bringing ourselves back to our natural state.
All too often our lives are filled with complexity, chaos and suffering - and much of it we create. That's not said with any degree of blame, just an awareness and acceptance that this is the way we create our experiences. As technology becomes more clever, day to day living becomes more materialistic and global affairs more intense, we so easily get sucked into the matrix of life. Our bodies become tuned into a subconscious state of alert that prepares us for flight or fight situations, resulting in cortisol constantly running through our bodies, draining our resources.
Now this isn't to say that there isn't some joy in our experiences and that life as we know it is all doom and gloom. Although it does serve to remind us how out of balance our lives are becoming and perhaps gives us some clues to the source of our dis-ease. This is why, I believe, so many of us are turning to masters of well-being, 'alternative' therapies and Eastern philosophy - to find answers to our lack of contentment and malaise. There is a definite turning tide of dis-satisfaction that acknowledges that this state of being is unhealthy and can not be sustained.
What I am learning through my Meditation Course and in fact from life itself, is to appreciate the simplicity that exists in the soil, in the bird song, in growing your own food. Although more than that, I am beginning to wake up to my natural state, living beyond the anxiety, fears, judgements and stress that too much of life induces. So what is this natural state I talk of?
I have learnt the simplicity of the breath, of being mindful, of living from a place of loving kindness. These are all lovely states to be in and already exist within us - we just need to waken that awareness. The Mindfulness of Breath, shows us how this innate function called breathing, can actually nourish our bodies when we focus on its true essence. A breath from the depths of our bellies can fill every part of our bodies and bring more oxygen to each of our cells. A bodily function that we take for granted and yet has so much more quality to it, if we put our attention to it. And what does this give us? Stillness, peace, a quiet mind and a mindfulness that creates a 'freeze-frame' on our life movie.
The simplicity of mindfulness itself is bringing me ever-increasing stillness, that goes beyond just the breath. Noticing my anxiety, emotions, negative thoughts. Being aware of the food on my plate and eating with more consciousness. Stopping to listen to and watch nature's autumnal busy-ness. Seeing all this with new, freshly awakened eyes brings a new quality to my life. We just need to remind ourselves to do it.
Loving kindness - another type of meditation that cultivates a state of compassion within us. Although in many ways this is so much more than a meditation, it's a way of being, a way of thinking and a way of feeling. Have you ever stopped to notice how people respond to a smile? A smile can change how someone feels in an instant and how they live out their day. Learning to adopt a mind set of loving kindness where we wish ourselves and all beings to be well, happy and free is a beautiful practice. It builds self-respect, dissolves conflict and creates an energy where all good things are possible.
Simple things create a more peaceful living and whilst the chaos might still rain around us, simplicity practices become like an umbrella that protect us from the madness. I am not naïve enough to assume that everything in my life will be rosy just because I have found joy in these simple things, although I know that they will go a long way to giving me the inner peace I have been searching for and coping mechanisms that can only enhance my experience on this mortal coil.
With love and blessings