Have you ever had one of those moments where you hear about something terrible that happened to someone and it really affects you? It just rattles you on a deep level and at the same time you know there is really nothing that YOU specifically can do to help the situation? Well I have.
I had one recently.
And as I was searching my body and soul for what to do about it only one thing came to me: meditate.
It may sound trite but it’s not: Sometimes my only true response to hearing about terrible happenings is to meditate. Meditate more (than I already do).
Let’s just put it plainly. Shit happens in this life. Some of it is terrible. In the scope of the happenings of the world, the truth is much of it has nothing or little to do with you and there is nothing that you can actually do to change or help it. I’m not saying you are powerless. I’m saying there are more devastating occurrences than are yours to manage or aid. And yet, we are often affected by even knowing about these things, especially the sensitive people among us.
When this happens to me– when I feel deeply disturbed or affected by happenings which are out of my control– the most powerful action I can take for myself is to reestablish my connection with that deep and unwavering inner peace. It’s most readily available to me when I meditate. And every time I do– especially when I do it for longer periods– I strengthen my connection to that place of equanimity inside of me.
I remember a time when I was 30 years old. I was living in an ashram in upstate New York meditating and chanting daily. I recall the harmony, natural composure, and abiding joy that came with doing those practices daily. I am pleased to say that I have an honest to goodness cellular memory of what those actions do to my body and being and to the sweet internal place that they take me to. I can still remember exactly where I was standing at my desk one day while living at the ashram when I had the realization that if the roof of the building were to fall in right then, my internal state would not have been affected. I was ensconced in that peaceful, joyous equanimity that is most easily understood by connecting inside. I knew I would have simply unburied myself from the wreckage and set about helping others to do the same. I could feel in my bones that my internal state would not have changed; it was that established.
The truth is today I don’t feel the same degree of unwavering steadiness on a constant basis. I do meditate daily. But not for the same length of time that I did then. I’m certainly not blaming it on my children but truly having children did alter me severely! 😉 I’m still learning to maintain that connection to Self amidst the upheavals that parenting two young children introduces. I also don’t chant as regularly.
That being said, it was those years of experience in my 30’s that taught me what chanting and meditation can do for me. It taught me, through real experience, how going inside changes the tone and feel of what you experience on the outside, no matter how terrible.
So these days, more than a decade later, I guess it’s really no surprise that one of my responses to the sometimes horrific happenings of this world is to mediate more. Sometimes it feels like one of the only things I CAN DO to effectively process a situation.
It honestly sounds funny– even to my ears– to say, but for me it’s true: sometimes mediation is the only answer. Or as my friend Lisa said the other day on her Instagram account: Meditation: It’s for the answers you can’t find on Google.
Establishing and strengthening that connection with my own inner peace has a direct bearing on how I process what happens on the outside. And sometimes it is the only, or certainly the most effective tool I have at my disposal.
So, if you’re feeling frazzled about the happenings of the world or powerless to change something in it, I recommend giving mediation a try. It may sound selfish on the one hand. And truly I do do it primarily for my own benefit. 🙂 But also, on the other hand it’s not selfish at all. Bad vibes expand, so do good ones.
From a state of inner peace and connection you’re also much more able to the engage pieces of you that are able to function and to know what responses may be available to you in the now. Whether that may be picking up the pieces of rubble around you or making tinier subtle shifts within your own being or family circle; you’re in a better place to understand and enact those when you’re in established relationship with your own inner calm.
If you’d like to try but don’t have years of meditating at an ashram to help you through, or access to anything other than your own self, don’t worry, that’s enough. If you need guidance I recommend Diana Lang’s bookOpening to Meditation. She also has free guided mediations on her website. Or my friend, David Harshada Wagner, he’s got hundreds of meditations (for beginners or advanced meditators) on videos over at Yogaglo. You can get a free 15 day trial to give them a test run. 🙂
Ohm and love,