Sometime last year, I started to look more into meditation and mindfulness. I was looking to reconnect with myself on a certain level, and I knew what I needed to do.
My god mother and her husband are mindfulness meditation instructors and naturally I turned to them. My god mother gave me two books written by her husband on the subject. And guess what! He signed them, whoop whoop!
Both of these books were written by The Happy Buddha aka Suryacitta Malcolm Smith. You can get both books at £9 each on Amazon and be sure to check out their website here
Here are some things that stood out to me in the books. Everything under here will be partly my thoughts but most of it from the two books.
Ever noticed how we try to run away from our feelings especially when they are bad?
We are unhappy because we are unaware. Allow yourself to feel those emotions, do not push them aside or will them away.
Feeling is normal and it is okay. Be aware of what’s going on in you; that way, these emotions will not overwhelm you, but you’ll have better control of your reaction to emotions and feelings because you understand them. Embrace them and rid yourself of the effort to constantly suppress them, we do not have total control of life. With awareness comes healing in different aspects, for example, unacknowledged pain from past experiences. Feeling in the moment leads to healing, not endlessly thinking about the emotions. Feeling = being alive.
‘Me/selfishness’ ‘materialism’ is taking over the world. If we always get what we want, there will be no opportunity to exercise self control. Mindfulness is learning how to relax into our agitation and distress, then melting resistance to connect with our inner selves. Sometimes we believe every thought that comes, that is the source of distress. Thoughts are like hooks, the more we struggle, the deeper we go, just stop fighting them. Let some pass, address the ones that need to be addressed.
Do not choose what you feel, feel everything, whether good or bad. When we shut out sadness and bad experiences, we shut out other things. To be able to experience the joys of life, we need to be able to experience the sadness of life too.We must be willing to face our experiences in the moment.
A silent mind is alive, clear and unclouded by fear and craving but has thoughts. It just has minimal attachments to them. For the good thoughts, act on them and for the bad that you’ll need to let go, allow them to pass. For the bad that needs to be felt and dealt with, do so. The silent mind responds to life from wisdom and compassion. Listen to your thoughts but learn not to take them too seriously when they should be left alone. Wisdom and compassion grow out of our experience of life.
Many times, we look for the special and exciting, but the everyday normal should be the peak, we should be able to bring life to everyday activities. We need to be able to dwell in the present and not try to resist or get away from it. Learning to come back to the present moment when in the midst of pain is what matures us as human beings. To be at peace, we need to be able to think about the past and future without anxiety.
We look to relationships, work, travel etc to quench our thirst for happiness, but that lasts only for a while. The only thing that can bring absolute happiness is to know ourselves deeply and see that these views about getting satisfaction are flawed. It is the quality of our relationships that determine the quality of our lives.
Mindfulness meditation is about finding out who we are, here and now, in everyday life. Don’t miss life, live it. And trust the goodness that lies within you.
I would like you to take a moment and do one very simple exercise. I fell in love with it from the books.
Choose a comfortable position, relax, listen to your breath and think deeply about the following words:
1) Say to yourself, ‘may I be happy, may I be well’
2) Bring a good friend to mind and wish them well the same way. ‘(insert name) may you be happy, may you be well’
3) Bring a neutral person to mind and wish the person well the same way.
4) Bring a difficult person to mind and wish the person well the same way.
5) Bring all four together and wish them all well.
Take as much time as you might need, feel your breath, feel your emotions, meditate on the words and it is okay if you get upset or angry or pleased or even feel indifferent. Be honest about your feelings and do not try to push them aside. Especially for number 4!
I found this to be quite profound and somehow, it is a step to healing/reconciliation.
This comes to wish you every happiness in 2017. . . ‘may you be happy, may you be well’!