Edited by HENRY REED, Ph.D.
February 28,   2012
Everyday  Meditation

 

 

Everyday  Meditation

100 Daily Meditations for Health, Stress Relief, and Everyday Joy

By

Tobin Blake

 

Meditation 101

An Excerpt from Everyday Meditation by Tobin Blake*

 

Imagine yourself walking along a garden path toward a brilliant light that brings warmth and nourishment to everything it shines upon. The path is open and the way gentle, flanked by gardens brimming with life. This is a peaceful, safe place, beautiful to gaze upon.

If you turn around and look behind you, however -- back the way you came from -- the light is no longer perceived directly. Instead, it is positioned at your back, and suddenly the change in your own positioning casts the world into shadow. Now, the shadows are nothing more than a play of light and darkness, but in them reality -- and the beauty of your natural surroundings -- is cloaked; and as you gaze upon the shifting darkness, you are left to the whim of your imagination. In a world of shadows, you could see anything, pleasant or ghoulish, but either way, it would not be real. It would be merely a reflection of your own thoughts, fears, and beliefs. In essence, it would be a projection of your mind.

When it comes to the world we perceive outside of us, this analogy is not far from the truth. When you look out and upon the external world, you are turning and facing away from the great Source of life. Life did not manifest from the outside in, but from the inside out. By focusing on the external, then, you put yourself in a position in which what you perceive is so heavily influenced by your own state of mind that the reality of the world is blotted out.

Meditation is the conscious act of turning around and facing the other way -- inward. For just a little while each day, you sit down, close your eyes to the outside world, and turn your attention toward the inside world, where your core self, which is a direct extension of Source, still exists. The core self is the original creative spark from which grew everything in your life as you know it. To use an analogy, it is the foundation upon which your home is built. Everyone has a core self, although they may call it by other names, such as soul or spirit. I prefer to use the expression core self only because it is more descriptive, and also it does not have the negative connotations of more traditional terms. This is the same reason why I prefer to use the word Source more often than God, although these words are also interchangeable.

Your core self exists in a pure state of being, beyond every self-concept you hold, all beliefs, your individual thoughts and mind, your physical body, and even the passage of time. Consider the consciousness of infants before they have had time to develop biases; labels; self-concepts; ambitions; thoughts about what is right and wrong, large and small, pretty and ugly, good and bad, short and tall; and so on. They may quickly develop a weak ego, but they are far freer than most adults. Infants live in a world of purified existence, in which they fulfill the role of being an infant without question. As a result, most infants are more in tune with their core self than are adults. I believe this is the reason why Jesus told his followers that they must become "like little children" in order to enter Heaven. It is also the reason why infants can be so enchanting, why their eyes sparkle with life, and why their laughter fills the heart with joy. It is also the reason why their crying and their tears can be so incredibly painful for adults. When an infant cries, it is like the sound of God crying. We can barely stand it.

Most of the things, ideas, personality traits, and thoughts we think of as making up our lives are not really life at all. They are just stuff that has been added on to the core self -- that bare, essential energy of life that infants are so in tune with. Every-thing else is ego, also known as the false self, which then becomes identified with the body and the external world. You are more than this.

Think of a deciduous tree with its roots, trunk, and branches. These are like the core self. Year after year, these parts of the tree do not change much. The flowers and leaves, on the other hand, may bloom and grow, but come autumn, they change color and spin to the ground, only to be replaced by a new generation of leaves and flowers when spring arrives. One of the problems with our lives is that we have become transfixed with the changing properties of life on earth -- the changing states of ego and the physical body. When you reach down into your depths, you are attempting to release all this extra stuff, if only temporarily, so that you can come into direct, conscious contact with your core. Essentially, you are attempting to liberate your attention from the pattern of changing leaves and trying to sense your oneness with the Tree of Life itself.

While it may not seem to be this way at first, shifting your focus toward the core self is the most natural direction of your mind. It takes a great deal of energy to maintain an external focus -- so much, in fact, that doing so exhausts us to the point that we are forced into a state of unconsciousness every night. The moment you lie down in your bed at night and free your attention, you go speeding inward into the realm of "sleep," which is really nothing more than an unconscious sojourn into inner space and core self. This union with core self is what makes sleep so important for both mental and physical health, even though it lacks the full power of conscious contact with core self. It is still healing and refreshing. Meditation takes you into these same inner territories, except it does so while you are fully awake and aware.

 

*Excerpted from the book Everyday Meditation C 2012 by Tobin Blake. Printed with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA.

 

To order Everyday Meditation from Amazon.com, click here!

 

Healing Relationships and Sexuality

An Excerpt from Everyday Meditation by Tobin Blake

It may seem strange that a book on meditation should include a chapter on relationships. Along the path to spiritual healing, however, relationships and sexuality deserve special attention, because our relationships tend to be especially screwed up! It is in our closest relationships that we tend to act out all our latent animosities and insecurities, feeding our ego a bottomless supply of negativity. Often, these relationships are where the guilt cycle is most acute and the ensuing blocks to healing most formidable. Therefore, relationships become the primary battleground where our disconnection from our core self and Source is most pronounced. In so many relationships, anger, guilt, and fear are the dominant emotions, while love is relegated to a secondary position, assuming it is present at all. Meditative practice is difficult under these circumstances for the obvious reason that turbulent feelings and thoughts directly hinder meditative states, being the exact opposite condition. For this reason, healing your relationships is an important key to learning how to meditate.

Like forgiveness, the healing of relationships is self-healing. When you come to peace with another person, your spirit naturally reaches out and unites with that person's spirit. Through this union, the sense of separation between the two of you vanishes. To feel at one with another person heals us at a deep level. It paves the way for reconnecting with our own soul, which is the ultimate healing. As you come to peace with others and abandon the urge to use them as targets for guilt, you simultaneously release your own sense of guilt; and as a result, you come to peace with yourself.

Likewise, we often harbor much hidden guilt and shame in our sexual persona, which also may act as a block to meditation. As with any dark emotion, it is important to heal these feelings. Sexual guilt is usually directly related to the damage in our relationships, past and present, because sex is quite often used as a weapon in relationships. Also, parents sometimes unwittingly reinforce sexual guilt in their children with psychological programming that runs so deep, it can persist for a lifetime.

To heal on a sexual level, we need to stop using sex as a weapon and a reinforcement of body consciousness, and begin seeing it as an affirmation of union and love for another person. This viewpoint gradually removes the sense of guilt associated with sex. We needn't view our sexuality guiltily, but can look on it with innocent eyes. Our core self always seeks to unite with others, and sex can be one form through which this is expressed. The physical act itself does not accomplish this union. It is the purpose behind sex that matters. See it, like the body, as an expression of love, and it will no longer contribute to the guilt cycle. This reinterpretation of the sexual act is an important step in healing.

While this chapter is in no way intended to provide detailed instruction for healing sexuality and turning our special relationships into spiritual ones, here are some basic, essential guidelines to help you get started in the right direction:

 

1.   Seek only to heal yourself. This is the first rule, and the one on which all the others are based. It can also be the most difficult to follow, but when you are able to set aside the need to try to fix others, the entire paradigm of your relationships will shift. The ego is always seeking to control and change other people, but only rarely does it accept responsibility for its own mistakes. When you follow this rule, you begin to put an end to the constant projection that makes healing impossible. By projecting the responsibility for our own feelings onto someone else, we eliminate any hope of fixing the things that are wrong inside us. When you follow rule 1 for healing relationships, you put the responsibility for your own peace and healing right where it belongs and where it can actually help -- in your own hands. This guideline reflects the ancient truth that nobody can force another person to change, but people are free to choose change and healing for themselves. In fact, one must choose for oneself. To begin fixing your relationships, you have to withdraw your focus from trying to change others -- or any external circumstances, for that matter -- and reapply it toward yourself. Before this shift occurs, no healing is possible, because you will always blame someone else for your own distress.

2.   Don't ask, don't expect. This rule follows naturally from rule 1. By relinquishing our expectations concerning other people's behavior, we free ourselves from the endless series of judgments and disappointments that keeps us chained to negative emotional states and experiences. This interrupts the vicious cycle of guilt and blame, freeing our relationships to heal. The rule is simple: The less you ask of others, the purer your relationships will become and the freer you will be. Just take your hands off the steering wheel and free all other people from everything you think they should do, how they should behave, who they should be. Following this guideline will bring you incredible relief. As you release other people from your expectations, you will realize that you have also freed yourself. By setting up rules that other people must adhere to, you are building a prison out of your own expectations. It becomes up to you to monitor the people for violations and to guard them carefully to be certain that they follow your rules. Thus you become a prison guard, as much a prisoner as those you guard. Husbands, wives, and parents are particularly prone to this type of trap, but it can occur in any relationship. The instant you judge or attempt to control another person, you shackle yourself to that person -- and there you will remain, imprisoned together. For a prison must have a guard, and no one will stand watch over your prisoners except you. Why should they bother, when they have so many of their own? This is the type of situation that can keep your ego happily engorged for years upon years. Interestingly, people are often surprised to find that the less they ask and expect of other people, the more that others are willing to give.

3.   Give freely and without fear. Our third guideline for healing relationships takes things one step further. Not only should you stop asking things of others, but also it is critical to learn to give freely to them. Give of your spirit; give your energy, your attention, your love, and your time. Give, give, give, and then give some more. There is an inherent fear in each of us that as we give, we lose, but this is not the case. As you give, you will discover that you gain. We have already discussed this. Perhaps the form may change, but that is hardly important. This notion is so counterintuitive that it must be practiced to be trusted, but with experience it will prove itself to you. Try it and see. Set aside your fear of giving, and you will find a great reward. Everything you give to others, whether it is of your time or of your love, will find its way back to you, since the law of reciprocity is fully active in all our relationships. When you relinquish your ego's demands while simultaneously giving more of yourself, those people who share your life with you will inevitably respond positively and learn the joy of giving too.

4.   Cultivate unconditional love. This last suggestion is perhaps the most important of all. Peace is not found by imposing your will upon another, but instead through the relinquishment of judgment and the establishment of unconditional love. Defy the fear of giving love, and you will free yourself from fear. Love heals. This may sound trite and no more than a flimsy cliche with no effects in the real world of relationships, yet nothing could be further from the truth. Unconditional love heals because it is the emotional state that most closely reflects our Source, and so it invites the healing energy of Source into our relationships. As we shape our own thoughts to mirror Source, it is like opening a waterway that was dammed up. When you learn to love unconditionally, you invite the incredible healing energy of life to enter, and this energy naturally balances your relationships, essentially joining two seemingly separate individuals in one Spirit. This causes you to realize that your partner's needs are also your own, and vice versa, which leads to the related -- but equally important -- realization that by attacking your partner, you are really attacking yourself; by loving your partner, you are loving yourself; by freeing your partner, you are gaining your own freedom.

 

Applied together, the above guidelines will lead you to the awareness of your underlying unity with other people, which is what heals all relationships in the long run.

 

To order Everyday Meditation from Amazon.com, click here!

 

*Excerpted from the book Everyday Meditation c 2012 by Tobin Blake. Printed with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA.

 

 

 Tobin Blake is the author of Everyday Meditation: 100 Daily Meditations for Health, Stress Relief, and Everyday Joy. He has taught meditation and spiritual awakening at Unity centers, private schools, and colleges. Visit him online at www.TobinBlake.com.

 

 

 

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