Now, bring to mind one thing that you can genuinely appreciate about that youngster. Truly see that person, and find a trait that, if it were in any other person, you would consider it fabulous. Maybe you see her resourcefulness or his passion. Perhaps you notice his ability to read and respond to the energy of a situation or the brilliance in her ability to hide when danger was present. Whatever feels real to you, find that one thing, and visualize your adult self telling your younger self what you appreciate. Notice how it feels to connect with this part of you in this new way. What are the physical sensations of your body?
Stay with your breath, and with the image of sharing your admiration of this younger self, while allowing waves of sensational awareness to be felt. Experience your temperature, notice your breathing, be aware of any physical manifestations that are present. For this practice, continue with one age for at least three consecutive days...a month is even better! And with each day, you may notice your sensations change. Stay with your truth, and honor this connection to yourself. After a series of days, select another age, based on a different tape loop, and begin the practice again.
When our internal parts know that what they contribute is valued, it's a game changer.
And when you've got it, brush your hands down your chest and off your lap (like a ski slope), discarding any negative thoughts or feelings that may attempt to intrude, and sealing in the love.
Know that, no matter what may come in the moments, meeting, or day ahead, you have a place in the world. So, whatever may come your way, your value is not at stake. And more than that, your survival is not at stake, because you have a place in the world already.
Facing the world from this solid ground of safety shifts the balance of power. What matters most cannot be taken from you.
During the practice try not to move, not even to swallow or blink, while keeping the mind pointedly on the object. Even if tears should stream down your face, do not move. Let the breathing be natural and simply gaze at the symbol. Enjoy the calm you deserve.
While I would love to credit one particular wise person for the essence of this meditation, many guides and teachers encourage a gratitude practice. Perhaps you might include thanks for their essence on your personal list.
Incorporate this practice into your morning ritual, whether before you leave bed, after the last bite of breakfast, or on the commute into work. Simply be sure to have a few moments of "quiet" time, just for you.
Then, with a few deep breaths, bring your attention to one thing in your life for which you are truly grateful. It may be a pet, spouse, or best friend. You may notice that you feel true appreciation for the comfort of your bed, the new color you painted your kitchen, or what great mileage your car gets. There are no limits to what you may feel grateful for, so begin with one thing.
Allow yourself to delve into the feeling of gratitude for that one entity. Experience the joy, love, and satisfaction of having this in your life. As you plumb the depths of appreciation for your chosen focus, you
When I get "lost in busy," I find, it helps to intentionally create some space for myself. With that in mind, I invite you to try the Tibetan meditation of calm abiding known as Zhiné, a form of dream yoga.
According to Tenzin Wangyal Rimpoche's Ligmincha Institiute website, "Zhiné is a form of meditation that enhances your ability to maintain focused attention and to abide in clear, open awareness. For newcomers zhiné cultivates the strength of attention necessary to calm the mind and discover inner peace. For experienced practitioners zhiné strengthens the concentration and establishes the mindfulness necessary to abide in the space of contemplation."
Begin by sitting comfortably on a chair or cross-legged, with hands folded in the lap, palms up and placed one on top of the other. Your spine will be straight but not rigid, the head tilted down slightly to straighten the neck, and your eyes remain open. The eyes should be relaxed, not too wide open and not too closed. The object of concentration (the symbol shown to the right, which is the Tibetan letter A) should be placed so that the eyes can look straight ahead, neither up nor down.
If possible, ask someone to read this one to you, so you may simply experience it. Otherwise, read it first, and settle in with a few deep breaths. Then allow the memory of what you've read to take you on this ride.
Close your eyes, breathe deeply...all the way to your toes...and imagine yourself floating in a calm body of water that feels both comfortable and revitalizing in temperature.
Feel the warmth of the sun shining on you. Look to the left and right, and see the earth and trees that hug the water, and give it grounded form. See above, the vastness of space that holds the earth, the sun, and water...and then feel a gentle breeze.
This breeze begins to move you along a river at a slow, moseying pace...and then you find that you've stopped again. Perhaps there is a log or you've moved into an inlet. Either way, you've paused. Breathe, and notice what this feels like. Hang out with this for a bit...just breathing and noticing.
Continue to place items in the river, one by one, watching each float out of sight and out of mind. Allow yourself to release everything you can. As new concerns emerge, simply place them in the river.
This meditation is offered by Huang Yu, acupuncturist and herbalist in Lexington, Massachusetts. The practice is simple and effective.
Begin by sitting comfortably with deep, even breaths. Allow the sense of emptiness and space to fill you.
It is likely, because you are human, that ideas, thoughts, worries, or the infamous "to do" list will intrude upon your space. Do not resist. Allow the thoughts to come, and with gentle acknowledgement, toss each concern into a visualized trash barrel.
Another worry may fill it's place, and again, free of resistance, pass that, too, into the trash.
Huang Yu explains, "I do this as though I am preparing to die. What do I want to take with me? Certainly not all of those worries. I want to go in peace, cleanly." And, as Huang Yu will attest, it's best to live that way, too!
May you enjoy the space you create through this practice.
out in all directions. Spend time breathing into the element of Space, the container for all other things to be possible.
Now, guide your noticing toward your naval. Visualize a triangle of red flaming light. This is the Fire in the belly. If you know the Fire breath (panting from the belly), do that, or simply breathe your energy into this flaming light, fueling and balancing your own fire.
As you shift focus, feel about four finger widths below the belly button. Here you see a luminous green jewel, shining out, and filling your being with it's beautiful green light. This is the element of Air.
And finally, attend to the secret chakra, between the anus and the genitals. In this space you may picture a beautiful blue jewel, shaped like an undulating jelly fish. It has movement, as you breathe into to, and it, too, shines out in all directions. This is the element of Water.
When you complete all five of these elements, abide in the bliss of balance, for as long as you like.
Below is a bit more information about each of the five elements, and why you may seek to balance them:
In balance - a grounding force, stability
Out of balance - may result in depression, heaviness
In balance - the spaciousness of life that provides the container for all of the other elements, and the joys life has to offer - the love space
Out of balance - may result in spaciness
In balance - fuels passion and creativity
Out of balance - may result in burn-out
In balance - the element of change, like a breeze flowing through you
Out of balance - flitting from one thing to another, unfocused, lost in busy
In balance - being in flow with the universal energy
Out of balance - may result in rigidness (think of ice) or logginess (think water-logged)
Allow your heart to find the luminosity of another heart in the world, and witness the light dance they create together. Continue your heart breath, and find another heart to share a dance with. You may even picture yourself on a busy street, dancing with the magnificence of all the hearts moving from place to place.
Know that, you may share your heart energy - first with yourself, and then with others. It is YOUR energy. The more you practice this visualization, the greater your capacity for feeling your own heart space and sharing it with others, because you are beaming from the inside out.
may notice a sense of expansion. For example, not only are you grateful for the comfort of your bed, you feel appreciation for the credit card you possess that allowed you to purchase it. This may extend to a sense of how lucky you are to qualify for credit in these challenging economic times, and more than that, the fact that you have income to pay the monthly bill as it comes in.
Give yourself the space to genuinely feel, in your body, the experience of gratitude, and carry that with you throughout the day. It has been said that gratitude is the antidote to scarcity...just one more thing to be grateful for!
Then, a gust of wind seems to create a "river wave" of sorts. It's coming right at you. Notice what you want to do...paddle your way to shore, dive under, close your eyes and keep your fingers crossed...you cannot do this wrong. This is an exercise of noticing, and allowing yourself to breathe through it.
Ultimately, the wave lifts and shifts your body, and you are moving along the river again. Faster this time. In fact, you're moving at quite a clip. Breathe, and notice how this feels to you.
The ride is a bit choppy now, and still, your pace is speeding up. Notice and breathe (especially if you've started to hold your breath - which is perfectly fine, and yet it would be good to stay conscious).
As you're moving and grooving down the river, you begin to hear a deep and steady rumbling. What is it that you want to do? Simply be aware, and breathe.
It seems you are traveling closer to the sound, and suddenly, you are airborne. Like the falling water, you too, are falling. Stay with your breath, and notice what happens in your body.
At last, you land in another body of water. Amazingly, it is more beautiful than where you came from. You couldn't have possibly seen it, unless you'd traveled the exact path you have traveled. In your willingness to surrender to the river, you ended up in a place better than you ever expected. Abide in the nature of this possibility.
FYI - This is a visualization focused on noticing and breathing through each step. I invite you to bring attention to moments when you felt you must "do" something - whether to get moving again, slow down, get the heck out of the water - whatever experience you may have. Perhaps there is metaphorical information that will inform your daily life? If nothing else, you'll gift yourself a few moments of quiet and breath - nice.
Take in several deep breaths, filling the belly and the chest. Then take in a deep, deep, deep breath - make it big, big, big...and let it go. Do this again...and again, taking in nourishment with each inhale and releasing any toxins or stress you may feel in your body with each exhale.
On your next inhale feel the tingling of roots awaken at the base of your spine. As you exhale, feel these roots extend into the earth. With each breath, feel your roots expanding and taking hold - grounding you and accepting the nutrients and the water held in the earth.
Continue your full breaths, and bring your attention upward. From your heart center and through the top of your head, feel the expansion of branches. You are both the tree and witness to the tree. See and feel the extension and fullness of your branches.
Notice the color and shape of your leaves. Become aware of how much space resides between the branches and the leaves. Feel the sense of vitality and strength in this tree. As a blustery wind of change washes
If this becomes a regular practice, you will likely experience a feeling of silent power. Remember, this is yours, you created it with your own energy - the power of being centered in you.
through you, you have learned to bend and sway and meet the element of air with grace and ease. And as that gust blows by, you become aware that your tree grows the most amazing fruit.
Because this tree is filled with your unique brand of magic, you may realize that it doesn't look like any fruit you've seen before. Or perhaps it looks common on the outside and the secret of this fruit is within. Simply notice and become aware of your particular fruit.
For this is the fruit of your unique gifts. It represents the challenges you have faced and the ways you have discovered the beauty within. You may notice that, through the personal growth work you've done, most of the low hanging fruit has been picked and is being enjoyed. Now you spy, way up top, where the sun shines brightly, out on that teeny tiny branch, a piece of fruit ripe for you to pick.
To pluck this fruit will require a deep trust and willingness to stretch and extend, perhaps even take a leap of faith - so that you may discover the sweetness within. What might that sweetness represent to you? What gift is yet undiscovered, that you must stretch and risk to enjoy? Breathe into that curiosity and the deep knowing that sits along side it.
Know that this fruit is yours to pick, when you choose to do so...when you are ready to face the challenge of plucking it, the fruit will be yours to enjoy.
With that knowing, gradually bring your attention back to your human body, and reenter the space in which you sit.
Lately I've found myself calling upon a meditation I learned years ago - Balancing the Elements. It feels like sitting with an old friend, comfortable and connected.
The full practice involves a series of physical movements, breath practices, and that which I offer today, the visualization of balancing through color and light. The comprehensive version may be found in Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche's book, Healing with Form, Energy, and Light. Please know that the text shared below is my personal version of this practice - a layman's version that might make the masters cringe, though I believe the true masters don't care how you practice, as long as it supports your connection to self.
Begin by sitting comfortably and allow the breath to breathe you. Then, imagine a luminous yellow (very pale) mushroom-shaped light that extends from your throat and completely surrounds your head, including the crown. For several minutes, breathe into that pale luminous yellow light. This is the element of Earth.
Next, draw your attention to your heart, and in the center of your chest, picture a brilliant white jewel, shining
Allow yourself 10-15 minutes. Sitting comfortably, close your eyes, and take in some slow, deep breaths...feeling your body relax, settling into your seat, tension melting with each breath.
As you breathe, connect to the essential core of you. The energy within that thrives and supports your being. This core self allows these few moments of breath, away from all the stresses and complexities of your life, inviting your true inner-strength and clarity.
Now, imagine you are sitting on the green banks of a meandering stream. As though the universe made a perfect day, just for you. Notice if the sun is shining on your shoulders or if there's a faint mist cooling your face. You are physically at ease and comfortable as you relax by this stream.
Become aware of any concerns or troubles that may be floating through your head. Gently place one in the river. Like a paper boat, see this issue float downstream until it disappears.
I invite you to try this simple meditation inspired by OSHO. The intent is allow your own reflection to energize you. The combination of your body's mirror neurons and the power of your nimble mind make this an interesting, challenging, and rejuvenating meditation.
reminding you of who you be,
so you may live your best possible life!
At a recent workshop, a participant reminded me why so many meditations offer a heart focus. We have more neuro-connections traveling from our heart to our brain (specifically in that direction), than any other pathway in our body. In turn, the openness and clarity of the heart is vital to our own well-being. We make decisions with our hearts a split second before our brain finds out (this brain delay is scientifically proven).
So, recognizing it's extraordinary value, this month we offer another heart-oriented meditation.
Take a few deep breaths into your heart. Allow the breath to come into and exit through your heart.
As you can feel the breath connect with your heart, picture a luminous white jewel resting in your heart chakra, shining out in all directions. With each breath, feel the space of your heart opening. The light may appear to shine ever brighter, as you connect with your own heart.
As the brilliance of your heart extends beyond you, allow it to stretch and grow. This heart offers the space for all you may experience.
Fear of rejection halts us from being all of who we are like little else. When you are presented with a situation that you fear may result in rejection, whether you are interviewing for a job, preparing for a blind date, trying to obtain services from your child's school, or simply walking into a situation where you feel you don't fit in, try this.
Bring to mind someone who loves you. Actually, it may be a pet, a spiritual or universal energy, your bowling buddies or your quilting guild. Regardless, in the presence of this being you know you are accepted for who you truly are. You can feel yourself belonging. Neill would refer to it as your "tribe."
For a few moments, allow yourself to experience the sensations of how you feel when you are in the presence of your tribe. Notice what you see, hear, smell and feel...really allow yourself to be immersed in that feeling.
At last, the weather invites you to flop on the grass and gaze at the sky. Unless you are an air conditioning person, in which case, you may allow the clouds of your creative mind to gather and drift, as described below.
Begin with a few cleansing breaths, arriving wherever you may be. Allow your focus to be drawn to the clouds (either those decorating the sky, or some that you might imagine in you mind's eye). Breathe the puffiness or wispy nature of the cloud you see. Allow your body to feel the essence of the cloud.
As you witness this cloud, notice the texture, the gradation of colors, the shadows and light, as they play with one another. Can you find the edge... where the cloud ends and the sky begins, or do you perceive the blur of oneness?
Breathe in and release the energy of that cloud, watch it drift by, and welcome the next cloud, as it appears before you. Treat each cloud as a new entity - a fresh energy, charging your batteries with density and lightness of the clouds you see.
Breathe it in, revel in it's uniqueness, and release it, until you feel completely refreshed, and know your own place on the earth and in the sky.
A peaceful and healing meditation - when I practice it, I feel love fill up inside of me and extend far beyond me.
You may carry this sense of being full and held with you always.
This simple and powerful visualization was originally created for the What's Next?! Workshop; however, it's a great tool, and I use it with clients often. It's like a super highway to the essence of who you are - your core self.
Begin with a few deep breaths. Fill the belly, fill the chest, and let it go.
Now, bring to mind a moment in time when everything just lined up and you knew you were exactly where you were meant to be. Your moment will be unique to your life experience. Truly give yourself time find a moment that resonates deeply with you, and evokes a sense of "rightness" with who you are deep within.
For one person it could be holding a baby, feeling that little being, hearing the gurgle, smelling the talcum powder, and experiencing a rhythm of deep breaths. For another it could be running through the woods at dawn - tasting the crispness of the air, witnessing the light growing around you, feeling the sense of power and agility of your own body, and hearing the birds as they greet you on this new day.
This meditation, borrowed from Dr. Maoshing Ni, combines the power of breath and visualization to tame a physical pain you may be experiencing. Psychologists, biofeedback therapists, NLP practitioners and pain specialists have all used visualization techniques with great effectiveness to "erase" pain.
Sit or lie quietly, and breathe slowly. With each exhale, feel your tension subside until you are completely relaxed.
Visualize fine vertical lines running through your body from head to toe. Keep breathing deeply as you tune in to these lines.
Now bring your focus to the painful area of your body and visualize crisscross lines at the spot that hurts.
Using your imagination, erase the crisscross lines that intersect and disrupt the smooth vertical ones. Slowly, one line at a time, erase the cross-hatching with your mind until only the verticals are left.
You've created a mental picture of your body's energy meridians and restored their smooth flow.
This is a great one-minute meditation to clear out any "icky" energy that you may be carrying with you today.
When you are ready become aware of another presence nearing you. It is of you, and brings various messages. Whatever you have been seeking, this presence is aware of and has a feeling to share with you. It has an essence to give you that will make you aware of the answers to your own questions.
Ask it any question you may have. Ask it to please answer you in whatever way it is able. Ask it for help, then wait. An answer will come. You will feel the answer inside yourself. Another presence may join you. Ask for additional information or ask for new feelings to answer another question. The answers will come to you.
Always know you are safe with each question, each answer, each presence. Stay with your thoughts in this place until you are ready to return. You will feel in touch with this inner messenger and you will trust the answers that came to you.
Know that you can return here any time. You may come back for new answers or to reaffirm the feelings you have just received. Thank those that came to you this day. Acknowledge the feelings that are part of you. Hold dear your sense of instinct and intuition. They are the conscious source of this intuition. Allow them to become part of your life.
Get ready to leave this place you created. It is your sacred place now and you will return often to gather more information for your life.
Walk back through the opening, back down the long pathway. You may be moving slightly more quickly now, anxious to awaken with your new sense of yourself, anxious to see how this will become part of your life. Your breathing may become quicker. Notice your breathing. Pause a moment and open your eyes."
Occasionally we may experience an internal battle. It could sound something like this: "I wish I could just get rid of that part of me!" or "Why am I so stupid that I keep doing the same darned thing?"
In 2009, I wrote about the importance of "Loving the Water." This practice helps to create inner harmony with all parts of your being.
Give yourself a few moments of internal quiet. Breathe evenly, with attention on each breath.
Allow yourself to notice an "internal battle" tape that has played recently. Maintain the rhythm of the breath...
Scan in your memory for when in life's time line you learned to "do it that way." How old were you when you first: became obsessed with worrying, regularly made self-depreciating remarks, or cut someone to the quick. Bring to mind an image of yourself at that age. Really see the infant, child, or teenager as a unique individual. Still breathing...
This is a lovely meditation borrowed from Patsy Grey, creator of the Learning Meditation site. If you visit the site, you will have access to an audio version of this visualization, in addition to the text quoted below.
As always, begin with a few deep, cleansing breaths. Feel the places your body comes in contact with whatever surface supports you. And with your focus on the breath...
"Picture in your mind a walkway. It is narrow and enclosed by blank, clean walls. Walk down this pathway until you come to an opening. It may be a door, or a gate, or a just a break in the wall. Go through the opening and find yourself in a deep, quiet, safe open space. It may feel like a forest or a cave or an valley. Whatever it seems to you, it is safe. It is safe for you to sit down and wait.
The place you have chosen is very quiet. It is all yours. There is no one else aware of your place. No one expects anything from you. Allow yourself to sit quietly as long as you like.
This is a great, simple practice that you can do anywhere at any time. Even if you're walking, this meditation works, because the nature of the water is to move and flow, just as you do.
Whatever your experience, allow yourself to picture the moment, and feel it in your body. What was it like to be there? What do you see, smell, hear, taste? Become aware of the temperature of the air, and whether it is still, breezy, or gusting. What do you notice about your breathing in this place? How is the flow of energy in your body? Is your body at rest or in motion in your Just Right Moment?
Fully be there, with all of the connection that you feel, and know that this connection is always within you, simply waiting for you to remember. The you who created this moment, is truly who you be. Breathe into the feeling of your Just Right Moment and bring it with you throughout the day...knowing that it is always available to you.