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Meditation — Yoga

We’ve Got Soul

I have often wondered about this soul. What is it? Does it exist? Do I have one? Do you have one? Do you believe in the soul?

I think the soul is what it all boils down to. I believe the soul is the true self.

In his book, The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle talks a lot about the busy mind, all the chatter that is constantly playing out in your head. The internal dialogue, the judgment, the thoughts, the wanting, the fear – the list goes on. Tolle describes this chatter as a sickness and talks about coming into the present moment and quieting the thoughts.

The present moment with a quiet mind, in my opinion, is when you find your true self. Your soul.

I am not talking about a static mind, but one which is at peace with itself in a way that a person knows who they truly are.

It’s like an artist chipping away at a block to reveal the true piece of art in inside. The artist is you. The masterpiece is your soul and your tools are right there at your disposal. Honesty, humility, breath, meditation, exercise, stillness, nature, sight, sound, color, touch, feeling, sharing, again – I could go on. The tools are anything that allows your mind to become still. Like training a muscle, the more time spent with the mind at ease, the more we chip away at the fluff that surrounds ourselves and our personality.

I have noticed that I behave differently depending on who I am with and on the situation I am in. Sometimes I wonder which one is the real me, or at least which one is the best representation of the type of person I am. The more I practice meditation and yoga and get into the mountains away from distractions of everyday life, the more I can see myself for who I am, and who I want to be. The better I can see my soul.

Hindsight is a great thing. It amazes me how suddenly it creeps up on a person bringing with it revelations about the past. Things I did, people I treated badly. Years after, the wrong I did came to me all of a sudden. Maybe, back then I carried too much. Maybe I carried so much crap in my mind that I couldn’t see clearly. Over the years did I peel away some of the layers so I could see more of what is around me but also what is inside of me? Did I get closer to the real me? My soul?

Everybody has a true self. But not everybody’s true self is revealed, even to themselves. I have not found my soul and may never find it, but I hope that each day I can get a little closer to my true nature and that whatever I do find, I hope it can be positive and make up for the foolish things I have done in the past.

I would like to go into this topic on a deeper level sometime in the future but for now I wish you happy soul searching. Remember there are no lost souls. It is right there inside you. It is just a question of how deep it is buried.



Meditation: It takes Two Minutes

This morning I pondered the topic of my next blog, I thought about what is important to me. What goes hand-in-hand with my everyday life, a constant part of my life, a permanent part of my daily routine? One constant for me every morning to start my day is meditation.

Recently I spoke to a good friend of mine. He had many stresses in his life at that time and needed to vent and get it off his chest. It is, we assume beneficial to talk about your problems, essential to let them out. It is part of the process of dealing with them. It is also, in my opinion a reactive part of the process. What I mean by this is that you don’t talk about your problems until they arise. You can’t. It is part of the process, therefore discussing a problem, while being an essential method of dealing with it, is a direct reaction to the problem.

What can we do before the problems arise? I don’t mean worst-case scenario – building a bunker for doomsday style preparation. I mean preparation of the mind. Maintenance of the mind. Taking stock of where we are every day. Noticing how we feel and accepting it.

In western culture we go to the doctor when we are sick. In eastern culture people visit the doctor for a regular maintenance of the body throughout the year whether they are sick or not. The same is required for the mind.

Over a period of a couple of months, I visited a therapist to discuss my anger issues. His idea was that I continue to see him over a long period for general maintenance and upkeep of the mind. I didn’t. I found meditation instead, combined with yoga and fresh air. I’m not speaking to or against working with a therapist. It just wasn’t my path, but regular meditation is my path. Regularly pausing to take stock of my state of mind and emotions or even just pausing to be still with current conditions.

I asked my friend if he had tried meditation. He had not, his answer being “I am not a meditation kind of person.” Some people are not at a stage in their lives that they are willing to try these “Jedi mind tricks.” Some people will never be open to it. But, I urge everybody who reads this, even if it’s not your thing, even if you are not a meditation kind of person – try it anyway. See what happens. There is nothing to lose. There is everything to gain.

Sanity, peace of mind, silence, time, energy…… Everything.

“I don’t have time to meditate,” people might say. There is always time. Granted, maybe you don’t have time to sit on a meditation cushion for twenty minutes a day, but take two minutes on a bus or train, in the morning if you get up a few minutes earlier, before bed, take two minutes and sit in stillness and silence. Notice the breath and notice the thoughts that arise.

Do this consistently for a month and see where it takes you. I am convinced it will make a difference. Start small but be consistent. Consistency is the most important thing. Consistency is where the power is.

Maybe after a month you will be comfortable enough to bump it up to five minutes, ten minutes or whatever. I generally get the most benefit out of my meditation session after the ten minute mark when I’m really settled into it, so I try to consistently go for a 20 minute session.

After trying it for a month, if it is something you feel you wish to continue, you may want to check out Insight Timer a free app but lots of guided meditations. Headspace is also a great place to start. For my own personal meditation I usually like to sit tall and comfortable on a cushion, cover my eyes and wear noise canceling headphones. I breathe and empty my mind, or at least try to. I am usually free of thoughts for more no more than a few seconds at a time, but the key is to notice when the mind wanders. A useful method is to count to ten with each breath. Start again from the beginning when you reach ten or when you find your mind has wandered.

I would love to hear your feedback and experiences from your meditation journey. For me, it got me through the most difficult time of my life.

So, if you don’t meditate, give it a go. Two minutes, five minutes, whatever works, but to be consistent and remember – we are all meditation kind of people, we just need to be open to sitting still for a few minutes.