This morning, and yesterday morning, I started my day with seated meditation. But not my usual Sheng Zhen meditation, not Union of Three Hearts..... No, this was something else.....
I've been reading, or more like devouring, Autobiography of a Yogi over the past couple of weeks. I grew up seeing this book in my house, in my dad's study, the cover rather than the spine facing out, displaying Yogananda's beautiful, androgynous face and kind, penetrative gaze. I was always drawn to it, and thought he looked familiar, like family. Was I related to him?
Despite this feeling of connection and all of my spiritual studies over the years, I never felt compelled to read this book. Until now. Thanks to a friend who came more fully into my life after several weeks of a voice inside whispering, Yoga. That's what you need.
And that's what I got. First with a recommendation of The Ultimate Yogi to get back on the mat, and then to read Autobiography of a Yogi. I'm only on page 175 or so of 550, but so far, all of the gems contained within feel familiar to me. And it feels peacefully exciting, like coming home, and like, Yes, I get it. And of course I'm reading this now; I need these reminders, and in this form....
So yesterday I watched the videos about meditation on the Self-Realization Fellowship website, and then experienced my first SRF meditation by following along to a 15-minute guided meditation on Peace. This morning I also chose Peace. And it was already easier the 2nd time around.
One of the main differences in this style of meditation and the meditation with which I'm familiar is focusing your gaze upward to the third eye. I do have some experience with this, but it is not part of Union of Three Hearts, which has been my primary seated meditation form for years. So yesterday morning, I found this challenging. I wasn't straining, but it felt strange. I also had to be more mindful of sitting totally still, rather than allowing some gentle movements in to help my body relax-- this was made easier though thanks to a relaxation technique shared in the beginning of the guided recording. And I realize now, as I write that that I don't want to get into the details here of how this meditation differs-- I'm too new to it anyway to accurately describe.... Best to go straight to the source.
So this post is just a little background, as reference, along with the links to check this out on your own, in case you're curious as I share more about my experiences with SRF guided meditations over time....
And in the meantime, if you want some guidance on how to create a space for meditation, check out this cool guide. It's also perfectly fine to not create a special space for meditation. You can really meditate anywhere! Even in your car--when not driving, of course! ;) But for an ideal type of set up, this guide over at The Breck Life definitely has some info that may be helpful to consider.
© 2015 Rebecca Clio Gould. All rights reserved.
This morning as I sat down to meditate, this went through my mind prior to emptying my mind:
What if depression and anxiety are the soul's outcries for change? The alarm signal that you're out of alignment? The call to come into greater alignment with what's truly best for you? To walk the talk? For your thoughts, words, and actions to be in sync and in the interest of your greatest good? Yes. These are not even questions. These are Truths.
And it's true. I know that when I feel depressed or anxious, it's because something is out of alignment in my life. In my inner being. In the way I'm walking through this world. Perhaps it's something I'm doing; perhaps it's something I'm not doing. All I know is that tools like Sheng Zhen and meditation, on a DAILY BASIS, are what get me back into the flow and prevent me from falling out as frequently or as severely.
There are several reasons for this, but the one that comes to mind right now is specific to Sheng Zhen. Sheng Zhen focuses on opening the Heart. And when the Heart is open, the so-called "negative emotions" can flow through your system without getting stuck. They can flow through the Heart and be transmuted, transformed, into the pure energy of Love.
Another reason that comes to mind right now is the sense of connection I feel, both to myself and to the Universe, during these practices. I feel held and supported by the Qi and Love energies that are all around me and inside of me. I relax into that and feel at peace. I feel clear. Answers come whether I consciously ask the questions or not; right actions come more effortlessly. The path becomes clear. I know which steps to take and in which direction. I remember my child-like nature, my innocence, my purity of Heart. And then I forget everything. I connect with a sense of Oneness. I merge with everything and dissolve into nothingness.
There is freedom within the nothingness. There is contentment there. There is liberation. There's a simultaneous recognition of my smallness as well as my vastness that short circuits my brain, in a very good way. Sometimes the excitement and bliss that come take me right back out of it and into my egoic self. And that's ok. It's a process. It's a practice. A practice best done daily.
What practice do you already have in your toolbox? Or would you like to learn a new one? If you'd like some guidance, just ask. You can also simply start with as little as 5 minutes of just sitting and focusing on your breath; anytime your mind wonders, just come back to your breath.
Rebecca Clio Gould is a Certified Sheng Zhen Teacher and Holistic Wellness Coach. Her specialties include self-love, embodied joy, women's sexuality, spirituality, surgery preparation, and trauma recovery. She is also a Supreme Science Qigong Instructor, Essence vs Form Coach, and Award-winning Author of "The Multi-Orgasmic Diet: Embrace Your Sexual Energy and Awaken Your Senses for a Healthier, Happier, Sexier You."