Meditation Mondays: Setbacks
"Suffering comes when your mind doesn't move." --Yogi Bhajan
We all experience setbacks every once in a while. I'm sure this sounds a little familiar: you're feeling good, you're doing all the right things, maybe things aren't exactly as you wished but you know you’re growing and advancing forward in various areas of your life, everything appears to be moving in an upward trajectory and BOOM, you lose a client, you have a health scare, you have a major financial setback, something goes down with a business or romantic partner, or a million other things that we could name, major and minor.
So you take a deep breath and rely on your strength and the support of others; you know enough about life and the way things work to know that not everything works, and that's all part of it. You know you can trust that everything is going to be okay and you can plan accordingly, take the lesson, and work towards a solution.
But then something else unexpected happens, and something else, and another something, and you feel like it's a domino effect and you're getting pummeled with challenges. So what do you do? How do you keep from doubting everything? How to do you keep yourself from wanting to give up, hide from life, drown in your problems, self-destruct, or scream?! Well maybe a little screaming is okay :)
We all know what it feels like to use every ounce of strength to not only keep it together but to actually move yourself through and forward. Ultimately, it all comes down to a choice in how we're going to look at things. Is it a setback, a reason to criticize, punish, or pity ourselves, create internal guilt or suffering, obsess over what we did or didn't do, or is it an opportunity to review, re-pivot, revise…to look within to see what we could do differently in the future, to be kinder to ourselves?
Sometimes things don't work out the way we thought they would or wanted them to, and we all make mistakes. It's important to remember, there's nothing wrong with YOU, but of course, there are always ways to improve and be better, handle things differently, evolve, learn, see things from a new or wider perspective, and to utilize the setbacks as ways to grow as best as we can.
Setbacks or no setbacks, life is full of its own set of daily challenges. So how can we move through them quickly and with as much personal power, ease, and creativity as possible? Because the longer we stay in our own frustration, guilt, anxiety, or suffering, the less time we're spending creating or serving others…the less time we're actually enjoying ourselves.
Having some kind of daily meditative practice is essential in these times, there's no more important skill right now than the training of your own mind. Tools and techniques are great to have on hand to use at any stressful moment but it's even more important to practice every day so that when the stressor shows up, you already have a better handle on it from the gate. Think of an athlete, they don't wait to train the day of the game, they train and practice in some capacity all year round.
This isn't for the weak! It takes strength to get out of our own way and out of our suffering and self-destructive habits. It takes discipline (and courage) to create and develop new ways of being.
That's what these (kundalini) meditations do, they give us sovereignty over our own minds, they clear away the subconscious thought patterns, the anger we see and don’t see, the anxiety, the blocks, the limiting beliefs, so you have the capacity to view things differently, to trust yourself more and to make significant shifts without forcing yourself to make them! This one in particular uses breath and movement to physically move the anger, frustration, stress, overwhelm, and depression out of the body so you can be more present and generate a better experience.
I know I've included this particular meditation in prior weeks and I bring it back because if you're not already doing it you really should (for about a million reasons). I highly recommend trying it every day for 40 days (and then to keep going) to see how your life changes…to see how YOU change, because you WILL change. And I know that change is scary which is why you're probably not trying it; deep underneath the surface our subconscious doesn't want us to change, so we have to work and we have to stay disciplined. This is about accumulation…the change, the mind training, the personal awareness, breaking through the layers, it gets easier with practice, I promise you that.
Tune in: Either sit on the floor in a cross legged position (easy pose) or if that's too uncomfortable for you sit in a chair with both feet on the floor with a straightened spine. Rub the palms of your hands together vigorously for a few moments, eyes closed, rolled up and in, focusing in between your eyebrows, or third eye (your pineal gland), place your palms together in a prayer pose at your heart's center, elbows out.
We use a mantra (called the Adi Mantra) to tune in before meditations that literally "tunes" us in to our own deep inner wisdom. Take a deep breath in and say out loud 3x: "Ong Namo Guru Dev (sounds like "Dave") Namo"
Meditation: Stretch your thumbs over to the fleshy pads of your palm right below your pinky fingers (if it doesn't reach all the way that's okay just do your best), close the rest of your fingers over the thumb making a fist.
Keep your eyes closed and gently focused up between the brows.
Breath: You'll do a strong and powerful Breath of Fire (even inhale and exhale; making sure that on the inhale your diaghram extends, & on the exhale your diaghram contracts) through an open O-shaped mouth (your cheeks will most likely billow in and out).
Movement: As if you're doing a backstroke, you'll alternate each arm overhead making sure your fists are actually going above and over your head and not to the sides.
The breath and movement will naturally coordinate and sync up.
Continue the breath and movement for 3 minutes while thinking about anything that's frustrating you (get angry!).
To end: Inhale deeply, hold the breath, interlace your fingers, and stretch your arms up with your palms facing the ceiling. Picture yourself surrounded with white light. Exhale but keep your arms stretched up. Repeat two more times inhaling, holding the breath as you stretch and imagine yourself surrounded by the white light. Exhale and relax.
*If you are pregnant or menstruating do a long deep breath instead.
So that's it, no big deal, just 3 minutes a day. Try it. See what happens. I'm sure everyone that has to be around you will thank you, including yourself :)