Meditation as a Survival Skill

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spinning pillars balancePhoto by Josh Schrei

Some years ago when my book The Vibrant Life: Simple Meditations to Use Your Energy Effectively (Sentient Publications) came out, I led a lot of meditation workshops and groups. And I began always by saying, “Meditation in today’s world is not an esoteric practice. It’s a survival skill.”

I continue to believe this more than ever. Yes, sometimes meditation gives me wonderful experiences of transcendance and expansion, glimpses into realms of the mind where love and light reign, where I feel at home and at peace, where there is a spacious awareness like the sky, undisturbed by the passing clouds of thoughts, emotions, opinions and preferences.

However, the meditation I’m talking about as a survival skill is different. I love those experiences of transendance, but I also need the focus and shift of mind and body that comes with entering into meditation in the midst of my day. Not in the silence of early morning or late night, before or after my busy day, but right in the middle of it when my mind is disturbed, tossed by the waves of intense events in my outer or inner world. It’s a resource that I call on after reading the news, when I feel helpless in the face of what’s going on out there, when the wheel of stressful thought just won’t stop, when I have a million things to do, and nothing is going right, or everything is going right but it’s still overwhelming. The kind of day where you might say, “I don’t have time to meditate.”

So, I’ve learned that exactly then is when I most need to stop, take a breath, and connect with the cosmic order I call Source. And I find that connection in my breath. Many traditions have practices of paying attention to the breath and working with the breath, as in pranayama. Most people find there are health as well as spiritual benefits to working with the breath.

From the SourcePoint perspective, we experience the breath as an expression of the Blueprint in the body. The universal Blueprint of health for the human body, that is our ultimate resource, that is present in every cell of the body, contains the information of the natural rhythm and order of life.

So I stop, and breathe, and I pay attention to the breath. I feel it, the inhalation and exhalation. I feel my own unique rhythm. I don’t try to adjust the breath, to deepen it or change the rhythm. I just follow it, into the core of my being, into the outer reaches of my awareness, into a moment, just a moment, of deep silence that echoes everywhere. Perhaps the words “Order, Balance, Harmony and Flow” arise naturally. I feel the echo of those words pervade the breath, fill my body and mind. When I open my eyes, after 30 seconds or maybe a minute at the most, the world looks different.

I might do this once a day, a dozen times, a hundred times a day. It keeps me in the ground of my being, connected to my Source, aware that I am always being nourished by the universal energy through the breath. In today’s world, which seems to spin faster and faster, these moments of meditation are like good food and clear water for me; they nourish my mind and soul and body. They give me a balance point.

Meditative time is different from ordinary time. Never, ever, think you don’t have time to meditate.

©2013 Donna Thomson and Bob Schrei

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