This New Year I spent the week at Dzogchen Beara Buddhist centre on the beautiful Beara Peninsula in West Cork. I enjoyed the Meditation retreat “Good in the Beginning” led by facilitators Valerie Baker and Andrew Warr. Each day consisted of meditation practices within the Buddhist tradition, walks in the stunning setting of the centre and teachings of Soygal Rinpoche on the Mind, Loving Kindness, Compassion, Forgiveness and Intention.
I felt to share some loving words and powerful concepts that I enjoyed during this time.
Love: “You will not find anything more worthy of love than yourself, he who loves himself will not harm another.”
Responsibility: The Mind is the root to everything, it creates our suffering and our happiness. “It is up to us to own our experience.” We are the author of the stories, judgements, emotions, reactions and experiences that surround and fill us. Be responsible, take ownership and shift your perspective towards an experience that you positively and actively create. When we meditate we build endurance and become more present to what we experience, we can track our thoughts and become the observer rather than the consumer of our thinking. Through practice we build strength in sustaining a peaceful spacious mind that can experience clarity, insight and peace.
Forgiveness: Anger cannot defeat anger, love is the ONLY thing that can overcome anger. “A grudge keeps pain alive” – do not inflict further hurt to yourself by carrying bitterness towards anyone, “only love dispels hate” and allows healing. A practice that can help in resolving pain can be to – calm the mind, visualise the person and ask them to forgive you, then you offer forgiveness to them, lastly forgive yourself for the pain this has caused within you by holding this emotion. A lovely mantra to repeat is: “For all the ways I have harmed myself knowingly and unknowingly, I forgive myself.”
Emotion: All feelings are subjective. Choose your response wisely as its consequence is your responsibility. 85% of worry never happens- choose not to waste your energy worrying, it is better placed in positive thought. Emotions are not who we are- observe them, learn from them but do not over-identify with them as they can limit and repress you. How you feel is usually determined by what and how you see a situation rater than what you are.
Action: As Franklin D. Roosevelt said “Men are not prisoners of fate but only prisoners of their own mind.” To control the mind is to be free. In my practice as a dancer I know that to think different is to dance different. To change our actions we must take time to understand and change our thoughts.
Meditation takes time but with regular practice the improvements will be life changing! Sogyal Rinpoche uses a lovely metaphor encouraging us to let thoughts be like clouds- the sky is never bothered by them as the float by. And when we travel above the clouds the sky becomes clear and calm just as the the mind does in meditation as we transcend the will of our thoughts and ascend to a higher place of peace.
“What you powerfully hold in your thought world will either make you a street beggar or a great king” – This is a favourite quote of mine that I came across years ago from the teachings of Sri Chinmoy. Do yourself a simple favour and begin to notice your thoughts by dedicating a few minutes each day to observing your thoughts- not changing or suppressing them, just watching them without being carried away by them.
A practical note that I found very helpful was to consider Meditation as 25% Mindful, 25% Awareness and 50% spaciousness. A final quote from Martin Luther King to inspire your practice- “As long as the mind is enslaved, the body will never be free.”
I am passionate about bringing people into their fullest and greatest expression of Self. The first step towards this is to practise being present. To learn more about Meditation practice please contact me and join any of my workshops, retreats and Healing Yoga classes. I incorporate meditation into all aspects of my teaching with moving meditation, breath work, mindfulness, somatic awareness and Yoga practices.
A simple mental spring-clean to get you started:
- Set your timer for 5-8 minutes. Gaze your eyes on an empty space infront of you. You will likely be distracted by what you see to begin, be patient this will pass. Gradually let the eyes rest open and bring your awareness to your mind. Notice passing thoughts, like clouds allow them to roll by.
- Set the timer again and repeat, this time focus on your breathing- follow the inhale and the exhale. Gradually prolong your exhalation and your inhale will naturally follow suit. Extending your breath calms the nervous system, soothing the body and mind into a peaceful state. If at any stage you get distracted, simply return to following the natural journey of your breath.
- Set the timer and close your eyes. Repeat the mantra ” I Am” with the “I” on the inhalation and “Am” on the exhalation. If you are working with an intention or personal mantra you can repeat this, keep it short and simple. Let this fade naturally and for the remaining time enjoy the space and peace you have created within your mind.
With Love- Namaste,
Sogyal Rinpoche Teachings: www.SogyalRinpoche.org
Dzogchen Beara Buddhist Centre in Ireland: www.dzogchenbeara.org