The Path of Nature

There was a time in yonder past when everything we knew about our surroundings came from what we saw in front of us. Native Americans & early settlers would spot tracks in the earth, long grasses pressed down in patterns, or branches of trees broken or cracked. From these signs, they would determine what was in their immediate vicinity, whether that thing was friend or foe (or dinner), & establish an appropriate response. These tracks, displayed in plain view, were the signs they used to move through life. To ignore them was a recipe for disaster.

Fast-forward to present day. Signs are everywhere still, but we don't notice them. We're too busy with our 'doo-dads' to pay attention: phones, email, the web, satellite radio, & 500 channels on TV. All of this, in addition to everything else going on in our lives. These distractions take us out of the present moment. We can't see the clues that Nature leaves for us every minute of the day because we're not here. We have 80,000 thoughts a day, & 90% of them are reviewing the past & pondering the future. We are rarely present to see the tracks before our eyes. 

There's no need to waste time speculating about what's to come; all of the signs are right in front of us at this moment. And we have an excellent tool to reveal them: our meditation practice. When we close our eyes, we're giving ourselves a break from everything. We may spend our entire meditation thinking about all of our distractions, but when we open our eyes twenty minutes later, we're grounded in the present moment. Our mind is clear & ready to do business. 

The present is the future in the making: everything we need is right here, right now. Nature is laying out tracks for us to follow, & our practice provides us clarity to recognize the right course, & embrace Nature’s intent. The present is the path of least resistance, of frictionless flow; it's where we want to be. It feels like a gift- and it is.

Surrender

Surrender. Such a loaded word. We hear it & often go to a negative place: white flags, submission, defeat. It's no wonder we have a difficult time doing it. But in meditation, surrender is what it's all about: we're letting go of our need to control our experience. 

We typically spend most of our day thinking, judging, scrutinizing every decision, every move that we or others around us make. True: some of us are more control-freaky than others. But that need to control the outcome is imperative in all of us. 

Then we learn to meditate, using an intention-based technique that requires zero effort. And we discover that 'surrender' has another meaning altogether, one with a far more positive spin.

In Vedic Meditation, we're letting go of our need to control, our need to focus on anything. Ours is an effortless practice: we don't need to do anything. For those 20 minutes, we surrender & hand off the reins: Nature is in charge of our experience. 

We might feel unsatisfied with what we think is going on.  Be easy. There's no need to intellectualize what's happening when we close our eyes. We may have thoughts, or not; we may feel a deep calm, or we might be very restless. Something good is happening regardless of what we think about it. Let go & take it as it comes.

Meditation is a gift we give to ourselves twice a day. All we have to do is surrender. That's it. Surrender for peace of mind; for clarity; for better health; for our best life. Let go of control & focus & doing for all that life has to offer. 

Do less; accomplish more. 
Do least; accomplish everything.

Surrender to Nature. Surrender to the experience. Give yourself a break. The world will still be there when you open your eyes, & when you do, it will be clearer than ever before.
 

Thoughts Are Cool

Today I had thoughts in my meditation. I'll go further: it felt like I was thinking the whole time. Thoughts-thoughts-thoughts: thinking about the weekend, thinking about my to-do list, thinking about a conversation I had at work. Ay Caramba- why can't I stop thinking?? Am I even meditating when thoughts have taken over my brain? 

Meditation is not solely about going deep & feeling the quiet calm within; that is but one of two options available. The other is a thought-filled meditation. Conventional wisdom stipulates that thoughts are the enemy in meditation. So when we have thoughts, we tend to beat ourselves up about it: scold ourselves for being a bad meditator. When we do that, we're missing the point. 

In this form of meditation, thoughts are a sign we're doing it right: it's a reminder that stress is exiting our physiology. Thoughts bubble up AFTER a stress has been released, so there's no reason whatsoever to get upset or frustrated if we find ourselves in a thinking frenzy. Turn that frown upside down: something good is happening. 

Our body is using our 2x20 practice for whatever best suits its needs. If our body wants deep rest, we might have a deep meditation. If our body wants to release stress, we might find ourselves thinking. Both options are highly beneficial to us. 

We don't judge what happens when we close our eyes. We pick up our mantra effortlessly as a faint idea. The mere intention to think the mantra is enough to start the process. Sometimes it may feel like we're daydreaming or spacing out. Don't worry about it. Let go & enjoy the ride.

There is no such thing as a bad meditation; only a wrong interpretation of our experience. So sit down, close your eyes, pick up your mantra, & take it as it comes. It's all good. 
 

The Perfect Place to Be

Today I meditated here- in a treehouse. It was lovely: the breeze blowing through my hair, the sound of squirrels and birds chirping from the trees nearby, and the warmth of the late spring air on my skin. The only disturbance was a flock of Canadian geese flying overhead, honking their brains out. 

I've been road-tripping through the Midwest this week & this was the most recent of my meditation spots. Thus far, I've meditated in a cab; on a plane; in a terminal; on a lumpy bed; in the passenger seat with the radio playing (and again with it off); in my grandmother's bedroom while she was talking to my mom; and in still other locations, too. 

In all cases, my meditation was great. The location itself had no bearing on the experience. It's the same routine every time: I sit down, close my eyes, pick up my mantra, & take it as it comes. Where I'm sitting is not relevant. Wherever we can think, we can meditate. 

Our meditation practice is entirely portable: that means we can do it anywhere. We don't need a sanctuary to meditate. We don't need someone else to guide us through it. Wherever we feel safe is a good place to practice. 

We all have excuses why we can't meditate. Let's take location off the table. Do your research and meditate EVERYWHERE. Do it in the open: on a park bench; in the office; on the beach; on the metro. The world is your sandbox; play & explore. 

We meditate twice a day, for the gifts our practice gives us. And we don't give up on it because we're not in the right place; we do it wherever it feels charming. We close our eyes & enjoy the bliss. And when we open our eyes, we're not thinking about the park bench or the honking cars or the squawking birds. We feel calm and at peace.

Don't skip your meditation because you're not in the 'right place.' Don't judge where you're sitting. Let go and do it now. Wherever you are is the perfect place to be.

Enjoying the Ride

Most of us spend our days wanting something: objects we want to possess, goals we want to attain, changes we want to realize in our life. We often have a timetable for those desires to be fulfilled, and it's typically NOW: right away, or even yesterday.

When our desires go unmet within our timeframe, we blame the Universe. Oh, evil Universe that ignores my wishes & doesn't give me what I want... Why is the Universe out to get me?

Be assured: the Universe has our best interest at heart. The Universe may be on a different schedule than we are, but that doesn't mean change is not going to happen at all. 

Think of a log floating on a river. The river curves & crooks & cranes its way along, providing the log with numerous obstacles to negotiate. Sometimes, it gets hung up on a tree that's fallen into the river, or on a large rock protruding out of the water, or it hits a low-water section of the riverbed. The log inches forward- if it moves at all. But eventually, the river's current adjusts, the wind blows, or the rains come, and the log gets pushed forward once again. 

Change is a process, and the best thing we can do is be patient. It may sometimes feel like we're stuck or we've hit a bump on the path to our goal. Don't fret: everything is pushing you towards positive growth & evolutionary, progressive change. Let the river take you where it takes you & enjoy the ride.