mediation monday

21 Days of Meditation

Our favorite spiritual duo, Oprah & Deepak, launch another inspirational meditation journey.

Today begins their free 21-Day Meditation Experience, Shedding the Weight: Mind, Body and Spirit, created for you to discover what truly nourishes your entire being and lift the heaviness that has held you back from being your best self.

Don't feel like doing it alone? We have a few options you may just be happy to act on in order for you to take a step towards learning and deepening your practice in meditation and mindfulness.

1. INVITE A FRIEND

If you are new to meditation and feeling a bit shy, reach out to a close friend who you believe would enjoy learning something new and calming with you. Learning new things with a dear friend is not just fun, it can also deepen your relationship.

2. JOIN A LOCAL MEDITATION MEET UP

Search for meditation meet ups or a mindfulness community near your neighborhood. This is something we highly recommend for those who are new to meditation. Joining in on a group meditation sitting can help you to focus and keep discipline during meditation. It can also be comforting to have direct access to a meditation guide who is there to help you break down and understand meditation techniques and the foundation of meditation.

HERE ARE SOME OF OUR PERSONAL FAVORITE MEDITATION MEET UP GROUPS:

  • Bodhi Tree Dharma Center: offering weekly and monthly varieties of meditation sittings in Nu'uanu on Oahu lead by monks and meditation guides from across the globe. 

 

Pai leads an Insight meditation sitting every Saturday. A practice of cultivating higher levels of self awareness, inner peace and spiritual growth through the cultivation of mindfulness.  Through mindfulness, we learn to be aware of each present moment without clinging or aversion. From this state arises clear seeing, wisdom, and compassion.

 

  • Shine From The Inside Out: A new and fresh mindfulness community in Los Angeles, CA., was created by life coach, Angela Aguirre, organizing meet-ups, personal shares, and linking up with like-hearted individuals in inspiring places who all share a desire for a purposeful adventure. 

Today Aguirre hosted a hike in Los Feliz to kick off day one of Oprah and Deepak's 21 Day meditation challenge. Click here to find more about Aguirre's meet ups.

 

 

3. CREATE YOUR OWN MEDITATION COMMUNITY

So you've googled, called around, hunted and done everything possible to find a mindfulness community or meditation gatherings near home and still no luck?! Have you heard of that saying, "If you build it, they will come."?

Think of this discovery as a great opportunity to take matters into your own hands and start your own group. Even if you begin with meeting up with just one or two friends, creating your own routine meet ups to meditate at your nearest park or a quiet place indoors, is all you need to begin. Organizing these meetups can help all participants involved strengthen their relationship with meditation, themselves, and the community. It's a WIN, WIN, WIN!

Shedding the Layers Part 2 of 2

Last Monday we explored the metaphor of a lotus flower blossoming and the layers of an onion peeling away, in order to shed the superficial layers of self, revealing the deeper inner Self.

But, what does this really mean? What are the layers anyway? And what is the need to shed them at all?

Well, that’s really for life to show each individual --there is no formula or prescription for this process. There’s no need to even be spiritual, nor meditate, in order for it to occur naturally in your life.

Meditation (and any form of introspection) and quiet time (being in nature, journaling, free movement, etc.), can however be beneficial to bringing awareness to these things.

For example, I used to have a major sugar addiction which was learned from an early age. I have fond memories of going for a drive with my dad as a young girl and getting a scoop of Baskin Robbin's famous mint chocolate chip ice cream. And that was treat for me!

Not only did I get one on one quality time with my dad, but on top of it a sweet treat that changed my inner biology and got me hooked on that high of sugar, which was associated with this attention and love from my father. That’s a powerful hook for any child - sweets as a reward, associated with a warm loving memory with a caretaker.

Years later, as an adult, I realized the sugar addition was a superficial outer layer embedded in me during my childhood - not so healthy habit. And I decided, it was no longer serving me. I found myself craving and gorging on sweets daily.

When emotional lows hit, I would medicate with loads of cookies and chocolate anything in order to numb the pain or suffering I was going through at those times. The results were disastrous. After years of sugar binging, I noticed my body, brain and emotional well being were not in a good place each time I would eat too much sugar in one go.

I realized my addiction to sugar was just a learned habit. It was linked to two things I desired—rewards and comfort. Knowing this, inspired me to kick it.

I realized my addiction to sugar was just a learned habit. It was linked to two things I desired--rewards and comfort. Knowing this, inspired me to kick it.

It took years of battling the addiction. I even utilized the Lent period, for a few years, to fast from all forms of sugar. By allowing my physical body to detox from sugar, breaking the biological and emotional addiction, another layer was shed. And now from time to time I do have a sweet treat, but I no longer crave sugar like I used to. I no longer gorge on sugar when emotions or stress levels get high. Instead, I turn to healthier outlets and tools to deal with the challenges of life.

This is only one example of a long, conscious and not even necessarily spiritual shedding of a layer. There are many other forms that this shedding process can take place.

In your own life, think of a time when you felt controlled by a negative habit or deep unhealthy craving that was almost compulsive.

In your own life, think of a time when you felt controlled by a negative habit or deep unhealthy craving that was almost compulsive. Maybe it was an eating or substance use issue, or an emotional or behavioral habit that was not so wise (like anger, jealousy, insecurity, fear or judgement). It could also be a way you saw yourself before and now that identification no longer feels so true.

How is it for you now? Has it mellowed out? Is it still full on ruling your life when you feel stressed or worn thin? Has a specific way of being or acting changed for you over the years?

Some of those habits and cravings may have naturally fallen away, in time, or with the awareness of your once negative habits and cravings not fully benefiting you. You may have had to do a ton of work on it. It could have been a spontaneous freedom from that bad habit or tendency.

Either way, there are countless layers that shed throughout our lives, in a myriad of ways that allow for us to simplify and get down to our core. Not all of them even have to be so called "bad" habits either.

When these outer layers fall away we tend to feel lighter and more free.

And when these outer layers fall away we tend to feel lighter and more free. We can start to explore what is truly of value to us, because our energy is no longer caught up in the incessant chase for the next hit of whatever your pleasure is; or in holding up what we falsely believed to be our self.

This gives us the space to explore, discover and act on the deeper purpose and clear intention of our being, leading us to live a more happy and healthy life.

Think of it as if you’ve been carrying around a super heavy suitcase your whole damn life. It’s full of all these “layers” that you innocently adopted as yourself. And over time, your suitcase gets lighter and lighter. Imagine losing one item here, another there, until you chuck the whole suitcase or downsize altogether to a sweet little and light tote bag! The journey becomes much more pleasant with a lighter load.

It’s important to be kind to ourselves when we explore these so-called layers of self - in that they are not “bad” and we are not “wrong” for having them.

It’s important to be kind to ourselves when we explore these so-called layers of self - in that they are not “bad” and we are not “wrong” for having them. Furthermore, it’s good to realize that  it’s not really our fault - nor our parents or caretakers for that matter - it’s just the way it is.

By keeping kindness at the forefront, as we bring awareness to our many layers, as well as resisting the urge to fall into victim-hood due to our conditioning, we can keep ourselves open to a process in which the timeline is almost totally out of our control.

In any case, whether we are conscious or not of this shedding of layers, in my experience it happens regardless. And it’s a good thing! Because in that lightness of letting go of the layers or the weight in the suitcase of so-called-self, we truly can get down to the essence and purity of our true Self. We shine from that place, interacting with others from a genuine and deeper level of connection.

This week, when you take a moment to reflect:

  • Quietly sit and be open to the feelings of freedom from the layers that have already peeled away in your past, whether through your ardent effort, or from a spontaneous letting go, and honor that.
  • Take notice to what is coming up for you in your life, that you know is ready to be let go of, during the present moment (be it anger, impatience, judgements, low self esteem or some kind of unhealthy habit, or just ideas or self-identification that no longer serve you, etc.)
  • Allow for the shedding and release process to unfold, fostering the letting go with a gentle kindness, like a mother towards a small child - you being the mother to your own self, as these outer layers fall away.
     

Om Shanti shanti shanti.
Peace, peace, peace.

May you be happy,

May you be at peace and

May you be healthy in body, mind and spirit.

 

Warm hugs from Ubud, Bali,

Salina    

 

Find out more about Salina and Flo Yoga Hawaii’s yoga class schedule at:

www.floyogahawaii.com

www.salinamaxine.com

Shedding the Layers (part 1 of 2)

meditation monday .jpg

Some people are already well off without a formal meditation practice - and some of us are already spontaneously in meditative states if we practice such things as the arts, music, or absorb ourselves in nature or other healthy, peaceful activities.

So it may not be calling to you, this whole meditation thing, but if you were to do it, I think you’d find it to be very novel to sit there and do nothing and just be by yourself - it can seem useless or even ridiculous to some at first, but I guarantee that you will experience some changes, subtle or profound, if you were to sit silently alone for some part of your waking day on a regular basis. You may even see the “layers” of yourself start to peel away or open up through this process, revealing something deeper about yourself.

I’ve personally found that there is a magic to this sitting and just breathing and being with yourself, in a simple way that can lead to greater self discovery, greater alignment with the power that lies within, and greater contentment in life by beginning to and eventually realizing what truly matters. To get to the essence of what it is that makes you happy in your life that has nothing to do with outer circumstances - imagine that!

That would be a gem to realize! Talk about liberation and freedom.

photo courtesy  Aveda  by  Kate and Keith Photography  of   Tiare Thomas , wearing  Lily Lotus  & hair by  Liz  from Black Cat Salon

photo courtesy Aveda by Kate and Keith Photography of

Tiare Thomas, wearing Lily Lotus & hair by Liz fromBlack Cat Salon

How exactly do you think this kind of deep contentment may come about from just sitting there and doing nothing?!  All these realizations about your deeper truth and then living in ways that bring you more fulfillment and more love for yourself and others without trying to “get” something from the outside world...sounds pretty amazing doesn’t it!

"as you sit there and meditate an outer layer of yourself starts to spontaneously peel away, it may even fall away completely, to reveal a deeper layer of yourself."

Well, I like to think of it in terms of a few metaphors. First, imagine yourself as an onion - and as you sit there and meditate an outer layer of yourself starts to spontaneously peel away, it may even fall away completely, to reveal a deeper layer of yourself.

Or if you prefer, you can imagine yourself in terms of a lotus flower. As you sit quietly with openness, kindness and compassion towards yourself, it's as if a little pink outer lotus pedal begins to unfold and open, revealing the deeper inner blossoms of you, with thousands more petals waiting to bloom.

These may be useful metaphors for how sitting silently on a regular basis and just taking a little time out for yourself to relax and be still can lead to a deeper unveiling of your essential qualities beyond the surface of what you know of yourself now.

I’d suggest not to expect any revolutionary changes in yourself or your life overnight after your first meditation sitting. Instead, just be open to intuitive subtle shifts. Over time you may feel the falling away of certain tendencies that can result from developing a regular meditative practice.

What comes of it is more of a shedding of things, rather than a gaining of things, at least in my experience. And what shines through as these outer layers open up, is the light of your true Self that is always there and never changes. It’s that universal light that’s always been there at your core, awaiting it’s revelation through your simplification and an allowing of your true essence to flow through.

"Here’s the caveat - it’s not always easy and sometimes if you go deeper and longer into the practice it can reveals your shadow side."

Here’s the caveat - it’s not always easy and sometimes if you go deeper and longer into the practice it can reveals your shadow side. Simply put, all the things remaining in your psyche, mind or body that need to be healed and purged may come up as these superficial and deeper layers of yourself are opening up. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s actually a great process for transformation-- but it may be quite confronting and uncomfortable to deal with repressed things we haven’t seen in a long long time.

It’s well worth it in the end to unearth them lest they continue to wreak havoc internally and externally in our lives. This is the juicy and true healing aspect of a more consistent meditation practice over some time.

Seek support from a dear friend or compassionate professional when the going gets tough in your meditative practice, and stick with it even through the unveiling of the uncomfortable things that need to come into the light of awareness. Because beyond those layers at your core is the freedom, ease and pure expression of your authentic self as you are, and ultimately, your true Self, or unconditioned Love itself. Your essence or true Self is kind of like the ocean that holds all of what is, in it’s huge infinite warm embrace.

So, it’s worth a go! Even for 5 minutes every morning to start. See what subtle changes happen with even a brief few minutes of conscious meditation a day, and know that it could take weeks or months to see any changes - so sticking to it is key.

It's always a wonderful mystery to see what gems this shedding of layers will reveal from within your beautiful self!

 

Namaste my friends!

May you be happy,
May you be at peace and
May you be healthy and strong in body, mind and spirit. 

Love and light,
Salina   

P.S. In part 2 of this blog post next week, we’ll go more in depth about the “layers” of self, and what those may be, and what could be revealed within as we go deeper into our core with our meditation practices.

Find out more about Salina and Flo Yoga Hawaii’s yoga class schedule at:
www.floyogahawaii.com

www.salinamaxine.com