I did an online meditation retreat this week.
On the first day, the Rupert Spira, the teacher asked that we drop our expectations.
Expectations are the antithesis of living here, now... which is what meditation is. I came into the retreat thinking that the 7 days would bring me more expansion, light and peace, and reluctantly let this expectation go.
What the retreat brought was something much different.
It brought me face to face with the uncomfortable emotions lurking in the deep. Interspersed with spacious presence, I found moments of angst, tiredness, and later, sadness. Deep sadness.
Sadness I’d held and socked away over the years.
“Embrace the feeling,” he said. “Dive in, hold it close, don’t push it away. The act of resistance perpetuates whatever you don’t want. Make friends and invite it in. Get to the space where you could live with it forever.”
I asked myself, Would I be willing to live with this forever? Surprisingly, the instant I realized I would, I opened myself fully to the grief. Which caused it to drop away.
In life, each of us craves to be seen. In the same way, those deeply hidden parts, the woundedness and raw vulnerability crave to be acknowledged, met by one who does not reject them or see them as bad.
On being seen and received -in totality- there is no need for them to stick around. You’re the spaciousness of Being. There is nothing to stick to.
You can practice this by saying "I totally and fully accept you. My Being is unaffected- you cannot impact me in any way." Recognize that it's your rejection of the feeling that makes it unpleasant. Nothing is forcing you to embrace it or reject it, except you.
Say yes to the feeling, be welcoming of the experience and release the need for life to be different.
You are the ever-present sky beyond the cloud. This feeling is simply a transitory energy that has no impact on the sky itself. Meditation is a universal yes to everything. That is the nature of your Self. Something you Be already. Beneath it all.
The mirror is your friend
As I was growing up, if I wasn’t dancing, I had my nose in a book. My mom was a psychologist, so she had shelves of fascinating books that I’d squirrel away.
Learned Optimism, Being Happy, The Way of Zen, You Can Heal Your Life... these are just a handful of the books I had at my fingertips as a young teen.
And I consumed them, both in written form, and as cassette tapes!
Louise Hay touted the power of mirror work, so I'd sit in front of the mirror and affirm: I am smart, I am beautiful. What I didn't know was that later in life, a very different sort of mirror work would jolt me out of the story of me.... the story of a being that doesn't feel good enough, an individual who needs to prove, to strive, to attain. And into the very spaciousness of Being itself.
Sitting in front of the mirror helped me discover that I don't have awareness, I Am awareness. You don't have awareness, you Are awareness.
The practice is simple.
Looking in the mirror, at your own eyes. "I am not that story." I am not that. Whatever comes up, you are not that. You never were. And what you are begins to emerge. Uncovered.
It's always been there. Clouded by roles. Covered by identification with the things you think you are. And by identifying what you are not, what you are, that ever-present awareness, becomes even more clear.
When I meditated, I was often looking for "the witness" that which is observing experience. And through this new sort of mirror-work, I realized that there IS NO WITNESS.
There is only witnessing. Only awareness - aware of itself.
And that knowing changes everything.
This presence of myself as awareness isn't with me every moment of the day... the old conditioning is still present much of the time, yet who I truly am becomes clearer every day, as the old conditioning dissolves and drops away bit by bit.
Here's a video to hear more! And the radio show
A certified transformative coach, yoga therapist, author, + adventurer, Kathy has coached people to happier lives for over 20 years. (Has it really been that long?)