“Breathing in, I know I am breathing in. Breathing out. I know I am breathing out,” I repeat this in my head over and over again as I imagine a wheel of breath turning inside my belly. This is where I go back to when I find myself daydreaming or experiencing anxiety. When I find myself veering off the road of meditation I have noticed it often comes from a place of anxiety and self-doubt. Learning to turn towards uncomfortable feelings, touch them and leave them has been the most helpful in softening my critical voice.
I am under the firm belief that the more aware I am of my actions in daily life, the more pleasant and relaxing my meditation practice will become. I keep my room tidy, I stay on a schedule and map out my academics so not to be distracted. I attempt to continue to be aware of my actions. I can set up my training wheels to continue to bring me back to the cushion, but when I believe that my words are too many or notice I am not actually engaging in active listening or I may have harmed someone, it is hard for me not to experience spinning thoughts. Sometimes the angst is so great, I would rather just daydream. In light of my self observation of actions and the uneasiness it has caused I began to go to the Shambhala Center on Monday evenings and it has seemed to take away the edge. When you’re surrounded by others meditating it makes it difficult to leave the room, you have nothing left to do but turn toward yourself, sense yourself actually being and see what is going on within. The biggest insight into this self perceived problem of when I am under the impression that my words are too much, I need to meditate and actively listen to my thoughts. When I hear my thoughts practicing radical acceptance has proven to be helpful in softening the blows. If I am feeling aversion to meditating, that is when I need to meditate the most! Turn towards my uncomfort and use my emotions as a tool; as I learned in class, touch it and let it go. When aversion is happening I have learned to either go to my daily yoga practice and arrive 15 minutes early; and on my mat I breathe, or I take myself on a hike without any distractions where I sense the world around me and focus on my breath. When I wander or feel anxiety arising, I focus back to what I have learned in class, reminding myself that I am here now, that I can both listen and speak. I have created an alter with all my stones, buddhas, incense and singing bowls. My cushions lay all around and my diffuser is not far away. In a well lit space in my room, meditation becomes enticing (take that silly demons!). With a daily yoga practice, regular hiking adventures, weekly classes at school and an altar in my room; sitting down with myself is becoming more like brushing teeth than washing the dog.