100 Daily Meditations for Health, Stress Relief, and Everyday Joy
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
is the original creative spark from which grew everything in your life as you
know it. To use an analogy,
the foundation upon which your home is built.
Everyone has a core self, although they may call it by other names, such as
I prefer to use the expression
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
more often than
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.
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
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
which then becomes identified with the body and the external world. You are more
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.
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
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
2012 by Tobin Blake. Printed
with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA.
order Everyday Meditation from Amazon.com, click here!
Healing Relationships and Sexuality
An Excerpt from Everyday Meditation by Tobin Blake
may seem strange that a book on meditation should include a chapter on
relationships. Along the path to spiritual healing, however, relationships and
attention, because our relationships tend to be
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.
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
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
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
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
choose for oneself. To begin fixing your relationships, you have to withdraw
your focus from trying to change others -- or
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.
ask, don't expect.
This rule follows naturally from rule
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.
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
Cultivate unconditional love.
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
order Everyday Meditation from Amazon.com, click here!
*Excerpted from the book
2012 by Tobin Blake. Printed with permission of New
World Library, Novato, CA.
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