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Seven Years In Meditation

Updated: Jan 17

Seven years; I don't know if it feels like a long time or a very insignificant amount in my lifetime. For a big part of 2021 it was challenging to sit in meditation – time seemed long then. In contrast, in 2022 my meditation practice became a refuge – a place free from the concepts of time and space. I am moving into 2023 with the same attitude. I use the word refuge because I feel sheltered when I breathe and sit in meditation, it feels comforting even when my mind is restless. I still have moments where it feels difficult to sit and observe and not give in to the emotions attached to specific thoughts, but the biggest shift in 2022 was to be able to regain my capacity to move between and beyond the thoughts. I always start with breathing when I do my morning practice of meditation, and in 2022 I went deep into my breath; experimenting with many forms of pranayama. I discovered SOMA breath in January 2022, and incorporated that in my daily practice (I would love to take the training for it, but it has to wait as 1. it is not cheap and 2. I have other trainings that I want to focus on in the next couple of months). I absolutely love it, it awakened something in me straight away. Along with SOMA, I also have my own personal practice. Needless to say, I wake up early :). I used to dedicate an hour to my morning pranayama and meditation practice; in 2022 that shifted to an hour of pranayama, 'sans' meditation. Maybe I should become a monk at this point, I definitely spent a lot of time alone last year – by choice. It feels extremely soothing to sit, breathe and be still.

Often people ask me what I do and what I experience when I meditate. I explain that, personally, I prefer to simply sit in silence to listen and observe mindfully. The idea of sitting with oneself in silence often surprises people and the next question that comes up always is: "And you manage to silence your mind?". And my answer so far has always been: "No, the thoughts are still there, but in meditation I feel them rather than react to them." I observe how they come, their shape and message so that I can let them go purposely. Some of them come back day after day, perhaps in a slightly different form and with slightly less force.

I do not know if it is achievable (or necessary) to silence our minds completely, they serve a purpose, even if that purpose is hard to bear or to even begin to understand. However, I do believe it is possible to slow down their rhythm by sitting with them to eventually sit alongside them. The latter is the shift that took place in 2022.

In stillness, the physical layer is put on hold for a while: the thoughts come in and even though I see them, by not reacting to them they have no choice but to leave (and in the process make way for another thought). This may sound like any regular old day in the life of thinking, yet the conscious act of listening to and witnessing each thought makes me a willing participant in the process rather than simply feeling powerless or overwhelmed by the constant influx of seemingly senseless thoughts.

When I acknowledge each thought as they come, giving myself time to see them as they are, then I begin to make sense out of them, slowing down the passing of each one. If their meaning is not readily revealed, I can sit with the sensations and emotions they may carry. And as I connect with the more tangible aspect of my thoughts I can choose to soften into them and let go, if only for a few moments. Eventually, in meditation and gradually in daily life, thoughts become companions – they are there without taking center stage, sitting alongside me.

#dailymeditation #soulsearching

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