I’m going to jump on my soap box today and proclaim that Meditation ROCKS!
Further more, I feel that everyone should be doing it!
But – lots of folks still don’t get WHY to do it or HOW to do it.
Why should you be meditating every day? Meditation helps you ground yourself and get focused on what’s REALLY going on in a given situation. It helps you balance your perceptions in life and see what’s happening more clearly. I’m not sure why we don’t have a meditation period at work or school everyday? I’m thinking productivity would go up and conflict would go way down. If the world at large saw the importance of meditation, a lot of the world’s problems would be greatly lessened. We’d all shift into “Be calm” mode.
Imagine “BE the Calm” as our Earthly mantra.
I think that’s why people say, “Be cool.” I don’t think that’s the same thing though. Being cool means you don’t act like you care.
Being calm means you acknowledge that stuff is getting to you, but you choose to calm down. Being calm is a choice. You can choose to be calm when a situation arises that could challenge you.
Anger is a huge issue in our society. All kinds of folks are being told to take anger management classes. Folks are too quick to point the finger at “so and so” and blame them for their misfortunes.
But you’ve gotta look at what the other three fingers are doing. Who are they pointed at? You got it! YOU! Folks don’t wanna think how THEIR actions created the problems they are currently dealing with. Nope! Folks just want to pick up an object and throw it at something. Even Moses wasn’t allowed to get away with that!
In Numbers 20:8-12, Moses is forbidden to enter the promised land after disobeying God’s command. God clearly commands Moses to speak to the rock, and the water would pour out to feed the children of Israel.
But instead, Moses became angry and frustrated due to the Israelites constant complaining and whining. So, Moses struck the rock with his staff, and the water poured out.
Whenever I catch myself being angry, I think about Moses. Hitting that rock wasn’t worth the price of not seeing the Promised Land.
You have no idea what you could be missing out on if you allow your anger/emotions to control your life and destiny.
It’s really too bad too, since Moses had been pretty good at controlling his anger in other instances. In his blog post Moses’ Anger Management Technique, Rabbi Lazur Gurkow contends that Moses handled dealing with Datan and Abiram very eloquently.
From the very beginning, these two men were the bane of Moses’ existence. As a young prince, growing up in Pharaoh’s palace, these two Jews betrayed him before the king, forcing Moses to flee the country.When Moses introduced the heavenly manna to Israelites in the desert, these two men stirred up trouble by challenging the rules under which the Manna was offered.
These two men utilized every opportunity to challenge Moses’ authority. When they joined Korach‘s rebellion against Moses it was hardly a surprise.
Yet we learn that Moses, in an incredible display of humility and self discipline, invited Datan and Abiram to dialogue with him. When they mocked him and refused his invitation, Moses refused to take offense. He saw that they would not come to him, so he humbly went to them.
Moses, the leader of Israel, repeatedly challenged, had every right to cast them out and punish them, but he wouldn’t hear of it. How did he manage such discipline? What is the magic potion that counters the rise of the ego and enables such incredible self effacement?
The truth is that there is no magic potion. It was not a pill that Moses took, but the perspective he brought to his interactions with others.
Let’s read that line again…
but the perspective he brought to his interactions with others.
Obviously, building relationships was very important to Moses. He knew that he could not control Datan and Abiram, but he could control himself. He simply chose not to lower himself to their level. He knew that even if Datan and Abiram did not like him, they needed to respect him. And even when they treated Moses disrespectfully, Moses did not treat them with the same discontent. He rose above them. He chose to be the “bigger man.”
People need each other. It’s just that simple. We are not here to play on our lap tops, email on our computers and talk on the phone. We are here to connect to one another and that connection must be authentic and positive.
Why is it the best teachers are the one’s that help the students understand, at a deep level that they know the students AND that they care about them.
Last school year, I had the pleasure of showing up to watch one of my students do Folklorico Dance in Los Angeles. I think her parents (and grandparents) were stunned that I really showed up. I was given a plate of the best Chicken Mole I ever had and a front row seat to watching my Guadalupe dance. In no time, I realized why Guadalupe sometimes was missing homework – she was busy practicing the intricate dance steps of the Aztec people. It gave me a real good look into her world. From that day on, my relationship with her changed. She knew that I cared for her AND that I showed up for her. That’s powerful stuff!
Some of the world’s foremost educators believe that relationships are extremely important. Here’s my new teacher: the Love Warrior himself, Jayson Gaddis with how relationships can improve your life and why meditation is so important.
So let’s take this slow: you get emotional. You gotta choose not to run from it. Tell the people around you that you need a time out! Then, you go and let yourself feel your experience. Let the pain wash over you. I know. Pain sucks! But you need to validate how you are feeling if you are going to grow from the experience. Then, you meditate. You get underneath the pain and move it to one side. This takes a certain amount of mental determination. It’s like playing a musical instrument or driving a car – you decide you are going to do this and practice until it becomes second nature.
So HOW do you meditate?
- Find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed. Take off your shoes and go barefoot. Allow your feet to connect to the floor. Read all these directions before you begin. Lay down on your bed or on the floor with a yoga mat. Turn on the music below and then, close your eyes…
- Breathe in and breathe out. Since you are lying down, you will naturally breathe from your belly. Belly breathing is the deep breathing of meditation. Really focus on this breathing. Try to clear your mind of anything that might be bothering you. This will be difficult at first as you’ll be used to going around and around with whatever is upsetting you. Allow yourself to “Take a break” and center yourself. You can think about that yucky stuff later. Allow yourself to relax into the breathing. Feel your lungs fill up with good healthy clean air. Then feel them release the air. As you breathe in, imagine good vibes coming in and as you breathe out imagine the toxic junk you were thinking about leaving your body. It’s like you need to objectify that junk as an entity that you want to expel from yourself. You are beautiful and created in God’s divine image. Expel the junk and allow yourself to be lifted away…
- If you still feel your body being angry or sad, contract and release each section of the body: start with your toes. Contract and then – release. Then, your feet. Now your legs. Continue to go up the body until you feel your head/thoughts release. Keep doing this as many times as you need until you feel your body and mind shift into a more relaxed state. The shift will come if you just wait. Do not answer the phone. Do not answer the text. You need this. Take the time YOU need to calm down and get yourself together. It is not selfish. It is selfish NOT to do this. I like to call this the Virtue of Selfness. Go ahead. Continue to practice the Virtue of Selfness. The world can wait.
- Once you are more comfortable being horizontal than vertical, you are ready. Getting up will feel odd as your body has adapted to the calmer state. You may even have to fight to remember what you were so angry or sad about. The more you do this, the easier the transition becomes. Eventually, you’ll even be able to calm yourself during a conflict. You are a major shifter then! I’m still working on this. I can do it sometimes.
- Make a mental note: the next time you feel yourself welling up with emotion, promise yourself that you WILL go take a “time out” and go practice the Virtue of Selfness. Make a date, to meditate. Imagine, someday you might even look forward to your next challenging conflict. Why? Because you have already given yourself permission to check out and take some time for yourself.