Meditation in Each & EVERY Moment

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Most people carry an idea of meditation as a practice of sitting peacefully in stillness. In my experience, rarely is it all peace & sweetness. And pure stillness is not attainable nor desirable even considering that we inhabit a body that breathes. So, sometimes an 8 mile moving meditation amongst the glory of Mother Nature (i.e. hiking up 2500 feet of mountainous magic) is what the day calls for. And then sometimes that same day keeps calling, and you wind up washing the dirt off of your delightfully exhausted body with an ocean swim, followed by a nap on the sand whilst cuddling the cutest pup on the planet. That time was my Today - with a call like that, how could I not answer? 

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Pure bliss is not some distant, foreign experience. It is found within the space of listening to the call that speaks to your soul. 

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For me, that call almost always involves time in nature. Today, my bliss was at the top of a mountain, but also in the space between slippery steps up “Misery Hill,” as I chose to hear the voice of my own strength, love, & curiosity, rather than that of fear, defeat, or pain. My bliss was in the weightlessness of my body floating in the embrace of the mysterious ocean, but also in the choice to feel my aliveness in its entirety as I galloped with joy head first into the initially unnerving & goosebumps-provoking cold of its ebbing waters. My bliss was in returning to my warm dry towel, but even more in the feeling of the warm messy sand & perfectly radiant sunshine on my reverent body. 

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You know what’s so liberating about meditation, should you choose to see it in the following way? It is ripe for the picking in EVERY moment. You can literally turn any (or every) act (or non-act) into a meditation. All you have to do is decide to make it so. To stand in the seat of awareness & notice. You are alive! Breathe. Be human. Be spirit. Be soul. Be in awe. Make each moment precious - infuse it with deep meaning simply by witnessing it as a miracle. Thich Nhat Hanh talks about washing the dishes as though you are bathing the baby Buddha. If we are present to the washing, rather than dwelling on past or future, or feeding into current distractions, we are able to realize the “miracle of life while standing at the sink.” 

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We spend so much energy following our unruly thoughts around the circus of our minds. What if we stopped following them & started simply observing them? Appreciating their strength, dexterity, ingenuity, & dogged persistence. Cheerfully admiring their absurdity, dynamism, alacrity, & sheer entertainment value. You don't go to the circus and expect, or even hope, to come home with the circus animals. Why must you give just any old transient thought that knocks on your door a room in your sacred home? Answer the door if you wish to see who is there. Say hello, have a conversation, offer them tea even, learn something new about your neighbors, but ultimately let this visitor be just that. A visitor. Not an inhabitant or a longterm guest who was never actually invited to begin with.

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And maybe next time instead of the circus, choose the theater. Or perhaps the forest. Your thoughts have the power to transform the landscape of your mind, & therefore your entire life. Your thoughts are not inherently “bad.” The goal is not to stop thinking altogether (however those meditative moments can & likely will present themselves with a certain indescribable bliss). The journey is about learning to hear your thoughts with the ear of an unbiased & unaffected observer. The journey is about changing the lens, or the headphones in this case, through which you perceive your life. It is about learning how to exist in that YOU.

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Meditation is about cultivating your perception. The more skilled we become at listening & seeing, the more we will feel seen & heard. The easier it will be to recognize truth from fiction; the voice of the true self from that of the wounded self. As the listener, we can choose which voice gets the most airtime. As the seer, we can choose to see the inexplicable beauty & perfection of ourselves & everything that is.