Meditation is allowing yourself to simply be

“Meditation is what happens when you sit with the intention to meditate”

What’s your image of meditation? What words does it conjure up for you? How might you feel? Many might imagine someone sitting on a rock with a background of a calm sea, with their legs crossed and arms extended and resting on their knees with each index finger and thumb touching. Or on a yoga course after a yoga work-out. Or do you get the idea that’s difficult and only for terribly spiritual or flaky people? You might have tried it and given up, with all those thoughts and no calm, peace and serenity.

Man meditating in lotus pose
Yoga meditation in lotus pose by man in silhouette.

People often have very high standards by which they judge meditation, and often they are standards by which they then consider themselves to have failed. Thus, those words quoted above were very liberating for us. This is what we were told when my wife and I attended a meditation course. It might not be what you expect. However a key part of meditation is letting go, and one thing to let go of is our judgements about meditation, as indeed judgements about just about anything. It’s here that we can get into a space of acceptance, including accepting all that can come up in meditation, including our judgements.

There are of course lots of schools of meditation, lots of prescriptions about what it should be acccording to those schools. I don’t want to get into all that, because they can fit with various people’s belief systems that they like and feel attached to. I’ll just focus on what a simple meditation can be like and how we can make it happen.

Sitting

First you will probably sit, although people do do other forms, like walking meditations. Personally I’d recommend sitting for at least 20 minutes, with practice, and ideally then extend that to whatever works for you, half an hour, 40 minutes or an hour. Busy people might not be able to given themselves much time, but then we live in a time-constrained world and there’s an argument for creating the time and then finding we have the time.

So you’ll be sitting a while, and so it pays to have a comfortable, but not too comfortable, seat which supports your back. You might get rather aware of discomfort and then that can be part of “what happens”. It can become something to let go of. In time you may well not notice it.

It’s good to have an upright posture, and hence a small cushion at your back can help. You might want something warm to put over you if it’s cold or you get cold. Shawls are useful.

Hands are often placed on the lap, resting lightly. Some people place their hands one on top of the other, each facing upwards. Or you can have your hands resting on your thighs, and you might even do the finger/thumb placing mentioned above, with your hands still resting on your thighs.

You could sit on the floor, cross-legged. You will probably want a cushion, with at least a mat beneath. I prefer a chair, but then I’m a Westerner and my hips don’t do crossed-legs postures.

Comfortable arm-chairs can be used. However, I’d caution against too much comfort. It might help send you off to sleep and you might not want that. Some meditations can feel like sleep, and a useful test is if you “come to” at the alloted time feeling reasonably awake, or very sleepy. The first might feel like a kind of meditation, the second like sleep.

So, part of what happens in your meditation can be just sitting there for a while. Nothing inherently “wrong” with that. You at least sat with the intention to meditate.

Or you can get all your thoughts, opinions and views about that, which may serve you, and they may not. From a meditation point of view, they are just thoughts.

Thoughts, breathing and a mantra

What very many people will say about meditation is that what they get is a whole lot of thoughts. You might spend yur whole allocated time thinking about some issue, and come away frustrated. “That wasn’t a meditation”, you might think. More thoughts.

Thoughts can be like that. We sometimes call this kind of meditation a “shopping list” meditation. You could run through your schedule for the day like this! They can happen a lot. The trick is to not be attached to them but learn to accept them when they happen and find a way to let them go or at least become unattached to them. Thus meditation teachers often say that one can learn to regard them as white clouds in the blue sky that float across your awareness and dissolve. What can happen here is that you can learn to be aware of thoughts, to observe them, but not be caught up in them. After a while they can go on in the background, but in a sense they aren’t “you”. You can discover that you are more than your thoughts.

A classic tool in meditation is to use the breath, to feel the sensations of the breath, breathing in and breathing out, and really noticing and observing your breath. When you get caught up in thoughts, you can return your awareness to your breath. And keep doing that.

You can use your breath for various things. One can be to breathe in to any tension or anxiety and then breathe out and release the tension or anxiety – or any other stuff you’d like to let go of. Including any judgments you might have about meditation. You are so much more than your judgements and and not-so-helpful feelings.

It is often good to start your meditation with a little deep breathing, down into the diaphragm,  and breathing out long, and then settling into a pattern of regular breathing as suits you.

Many people also use a mantra, often from various spiritual traditions, both Western and Eastern. There are masses. They’re not obligatory. One can repeat the mantra on the in-breath and out-breath, or across both in- and out-breaths. Again it can both help to motivate you, as you might get inspiration from the mantra, and it can help manage thoughts. As with observing the breath, once you notice yourself engaged in thoughts, you can simply return your awareness to your breath and your mantra. Again, keep doing that.

Meditation at sunrise
Meditation at Sunrise

The intention to meditate

I’d suggest that one key is to sit with the intention to meditate, allowing what happens but with the intention to continue the kind of procedure I’ve outlined here.

I’ve avoided trying to define meditation. More head stuff, when the idea is to let go of all this intellectualising. However, this guy on this link has a good approach, although personally I think he talks too much! I like the space created by silence. But you might like it – a lot of people do.

Intention is a powerful tool. It is the focused direction of the mind on a purpose, employing the will. It is creative. When we intend, we harness the forces of the universe behind our intention, to bring it into reality, but not being attached to it. Instead we allow it to happen, trusting in the creative process. We might take action according to the intention, but we’re not engaged in fear or anxiety about it, but trusting that it will happen. This too is a thought, but it’s a powerful one.

So, one sits with the intention. Lots may get in the way, like life. Interruptions, noise, cats, children, the phone, someone at the door. Do we allow ourselves to get caught up in that, or let it go. It’s good to make arrangements so that these things don’t interrupt you in practical terms. Then all you have are your thoughts about them, and your feelings. Like guilt, worry, anger, and the rest. A bit like life.

You can get your whole life going on as you meditate. And then you can just notice it – and return to your practice. It’s superb way to learn to be more calm, unattached, accepting, and aware.

Practice it

I think it is important to practice it. Every day, on a regular basis. Keep doing it. Yes, really, every day, even when lots seem to get in the way. That too can be part of the mediation, and what needs to be let go of. That’s when people start to get the benefit. Regular, sustained practice.

It changed my life.

Start letting go of insomnia being an issue

Have you lain awake at night, unable to sleep, worrying, tossing and turning, keeping your partner awake, getting more and more churned up? If so, join the merry throng of people who have difficulties with sleep, insomnia.

Actually it’s huge today. According to the UK’s ONS, as many as 16 million UK adults are suffering from sleepless nights as a third (31%) say they have insomnia. Two thirds (67%) of UK adults suffer from disrupted sleep and nearly a quarter (23%) manage no more than five hours a night

In fact a pattern can set in. The more you find you don’t sleep at night, the more it seems to set up an expectation that you won’t sleep. So, guess what, self-fulfilling prophecy, no sleep. I meet masses of people who think they “must” have their 8 hours sleep, come what may (can be tough if you or your partner has a baby, by the way!)

The one thing medics say not to do is to worry that you “can’t sleep”, because that’s more likely to keep you awake. Yet, as worriers know, that’s easier said than done, and you finding that as you lie awake your mind immediately goes to “I can’t sleep again” and off you go, stuck in being wide awake.

Well, there are things that can be done (see below), and they don’t necessarily involve sleeping tablets, which tend to get a bit addictive, like a “prop”, and leave you feeling drowsy the next day.

Letting go of insomnia

One thing that people don’t tell you is that this idea that you “should” be asleep is a bit of a myth. We probably learned it early on in life when our parents wanted us to get off to sleep so that they could have “their” time or because they thought we “should”, that it was “good for you”. Yet people often don’t have regular sleep rhythms and can be awake in the night quite naturally.

The point is to change your relationship with the issue, by not making it an issue. There is something in all this about acceptance of what is. There is probably something else you could do while awake. A friend of mind does the Times crossword at night, not my thing (too much thinking), but it works for him. The words “let go” and “surrender” come to mind, surrendering to it, rather than having it be a drama.

Also there is something important in all this about consciously managing your state, which is what can be learned from developing the art of mindfulness. The key is to learn to manage the mind and learn to let go of unhelpful mental activity and re-focus. The yogis learned this  thousands of years ago and mindfulness practitioners teach others to do it today. It is for example a very good time to meditate, when the world is silent and still. A good time to know more of your inner place of stillness. Quietening the mind is often a very helpful route to having better sleep.

Try the Sleepio programme

For insomnia sufferers, here is a very good online CBT (and mindfulness) based programme to help you let go of insomnia. It’s scientifically-based, and comes strongly recommended, such as by the UK’s NHS. Click here.

Do you feel like you’re going nowhere?

If someone asked you where are you heading, what would your reply be? Might it be going nowhere?

That’s not intended as a frivolous question, though many right now might feel tempted to reply with variations around “get lost!”. It could be something around, “don’t ask me questions I can’t answer”. Because such is the state of the world right now that there don’t seem to be answers and many people feel incredibly uncertain and anxious about the future, and even focusing on the immediate can be really hard work and tiring.

What’s your state of the world?

In the UK, there is a decision pending about Brexit, but there’s no sense that things will get better and if anything could get a whole lot worse. In other countries, there’s a lot of unrest, even in places a sense of near-revolt, or continued concern about President Trump or whoever, or a general dissatisfaction with one’s lot, or a wondering if you will get by. Then we hear of the dire state of the climate and how humanity’s future could be in doubt if we don’t change course. We read of stock market crashes, the rising price of fuel, the risks of a trade war, or disasters of one kind of another. The mind, once aroused around fear, will quickly focus on more things and we start to catastrophise, like something dreadful might happen, or going through “what if” scenarios. Just to check, ask yourself: have you over the last week been predominantly optimistic or pessimistic?

One way such uncertainty can show up is in how we feel, like feeling tired, exhausted, low energy, low morale, or struggling to get motivated. It’s like pushing water uphill and not having a sense of achieving anything, going nowhere again. Some report waking up at night feeling very anxious, but with no particular reason.

Disempowerment: not being in control

People don’t feel like they can get on with their lives. It can manifest as a sense of disempowerment, or, to borrow a phrase much used at present, “not being in control”. Anger can spill out every now and again, like the Gilets Jaunes protests in France. People need to express it somehow because otherwise the powerlessness gets channelled internally.

I used to work with this state a lot in organisations going through major restructuring which could seriously impact people’s jobs, especially when awaiting announcements. It was the “not knowing” that really did it for them. They’d feel like they were going nowhere. It was hard if not impossible to plan ahead, to get a sense of direction. People would experience a loss of purpose, even of competence and self-esteem. They didn’t feel valued.

I used to call it a “limbo” state, being in limbo.

It also happens when people are awaiting a health diagnosis. They know something is wrong, but they don’t know what it is or, crucially, what is to be done about it. Will it be serious – or not? Will they be OK – or not?

It’s the not knowing, the state in between, a void, which we try unsuccessfully to avoid. Going nowhere

Afterwards, it’s different. Once people know, they can plan, prepare and get on with their life. Now they at least know where they stand. It might not be that pleasant, but at least they can get on with things.

What can you do?

So it’s important to remember that this is a passing phase. It does not last. Life goes on. Remember the famous John Lennon quote,Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” Or the Buddhist understanding that all is impermanent, all in process, and that nothing stays the same. So too, we move on. If we allow it.

So, if you are faced with uncertainty in some form, while it isn’t necessarily nice, you can do something. After all you are a responsible being, if you so choose. So, you can act as one.

One is to look after yourself. This is crucial, since stress levels can rocket. So breathe and meditate, take exercise, eat healthily, every day. Remember your values and what and who you love, including crucially yourself! Love endures despite all things.

Two, have options. There is always a choice, even when we feel disempowered. Find things to make choices over, things you can control. Be prepared, at least to cover possible scenarios. Once you’ve thought it through, put it away somewhere and don’t mull over it.

Three, manage your mind, deliberately, intentionally. After all, we are what we think, and life turns up accordingly. So, by managing our minds, we can keep or regain the focus we want. We can manage and let go of anxiety. This is true taking control. This means, as this blog explains a lot, pausing, stepping back from your stream of thoughts, becoming fully aware, in the present moment, letting thoughts go, being in the Now. And stay there a bit, letting anxiety shift from thinking to feeling to dissolving, so that all you are aware of is Now.

Such present moment awareness allows you to shift from going nowhere  to being now here.

Acceptance gives you true freedom

Acceptance of your situation can feel like the opposite of what you want but its power lies in it being a paradox

We can encounter situations in life where our customary response is to dig our heels in, fight like mad for what we want and think we can by our efforts triumph in the end – and yet frustratingly get nowhere. Acceptance of the situation can feel like surrender, giving up, “giving in”, and somehow losing in another of life’s struggles. Nobody wants to be a “loser”: feel the shame of that! Yet true acceptance is not about this. It is about letting go, embracing what is, and allowing the universe to bring you what you truly need.

I was recently talking with someone about the physical pain they were in, a result of a severe back problem that seemingly wouldn’t go away. Rather the reverse, it looked it was there permanently and they might have to face living the rest of their life in pain, discomfort and restriction. This can be seriously hard to contemplate, especially if you have lived a lot of your life thinking the world’s your oyster and you can have anything you want. You can come down with a really hard bump if you suddenly realise that that isn’t so and that things are much more finite and limited than that. We think we’re immortal, and it can hurt when we discover that, in the material sense at least, we aren’t.

Acceptance of the situation

In this conversation, as I heard all the efforts that were being fruitlessly made to tackle the problem, I was suddenly struck that maybe what this person needed to do was accept the situation.

Now, you might think that this would have meant “giving in” and no longer working to bring about change. Surely what people should do is get into a positive mindset, challenge the situation and harness mind, body and spirit in the healing process? There is of course merit in this: look for example at how people have recovered at some level from back injuries that might otherwise have left them permanently disabled. However, one difficulty with focusing on the problem is that one can create more of the problem. According to the Law of Attraction, you draw to you more of what you focus on. So it depends on your approach. Getting the balance right is crucial.

To accept your situation is to embrace it and let go of it. It’s a paradox, almost like a contradiction. In accepting and letting go, we release ourselves of any attachment to the problem. It just is, like life.

It might be hard of course. Back pain can be pure hell. There could be lots to let go of, and grieving to be done for what we’re letting go of. When we let go and accept, we’re no longer resisting. “What we resist, persists”. Now, we truly allow it to be.

Here lies freedom. All sorts of possibilities can now come in.

In the case of our back problem, we might for example relax. With the release of tension the body can more easily re-adjust and potentially more easily allow the healing that’s needed. Some new possibility for a way of being can now come in that was being kept away by the resistance, for example by living life in a calmer, more stress-free way. Maybe there’s a learning there that was needed and can now be completed, for example allowing oneself to receive support from others rather than thinking one has to do it all oneself. Thus life can henceforth be lived at a new level of contentment that was previously excluded.

What do you need to accept that you are currently resisting?

Letting go can be the hardest thing to do

Do you find you get so caught up in something that you don’t see that what you really need to do is let go? We can get so attached to something that hanging on to the direction we’re taking seems the only option and we thus lack choices about alternatives. Letting go of “it” can seem a weakness, giving up.

It can seem obvious to an outsider but to us in the middle of “it”, whatever that is, “it” is all that matters. You want something to happen but “it” won’t oblige! The frustration builds up and we work all the harder to try to make “it” happen, with a resulting log-jam in the universal delivery service. So, what’s to be done, if anything?

For those of us caught in today’s rat-race, trying to bring in the cash, trying to square all sorts of competing demands on our time, trying to stay on course, we get locked into a way of thinking and thus deprive ourselves of the ability to see the bigger picture. For some it’s not till they get sick or some other event happens that compels them to pause and assess what’s going on.

With mindfulness, what happens is that we step back from the content of our lives, bring our minds away from what we’re caught up in, or whatever our mind is doing, come into the moment and can see what’s going on. Being able to take this perspective means we can see what is happening while it’s happening. You learn to witness yourself in action. You learn that these thoughts are not who you are. This awareness is just a breath away.

To let go is part of the process. Once you take your awareness away from being caught up in “it”, you let go. With this approach we are also non-judgemental and accepting. Thus it gives us freedom. So when we let go, we allow all sorts of possibilities to be present, we “allow” the universe to do what is needed, which could be what you really want – except that you are no longer driven by it, attached to it, and equally you are open to other possibilities. It’s a paradox. To get what you want you have to let go of it.

If there’s an ounce (or gram!) of attachment, then it doesn’t work. You need to find a way to totally let go. Then the log-jam can clear and things can flow again. When we are caught up, we can’t see this, or don’t want to.

So, have a think: what are you at this moment attached to that you need to let go of? Often this is uncomfortable, because what we don’t include in this are the very things we need to let go of most. So your list for letting go would need to include your strongest attachments. And in your struggle over this, you can use mindfulness to witness the part of you that is attached and see what that might be about too.

This is where peace lies.

 

Forgiveness can mean you need to let go of something

Forgiving another can be the really hard bit in dealing with a problem in relationships. Yet that’s so often what we’re told to do, forgive. But is this true forgiveness?

Part of the problem lies in the term itself. People associate forgiveness with “letting people off”, as though what we are supposed to do is go and say, “You’ve done this but I forgive you.” This can be really difficult, especially as there’s things like hurt pride and a lingering sense that the other person was really at fault. So we have blame involved and we also don’t want to be seen to back down.

It can be even harder when we have done something too to the other person, because we fear we may have to go and admit something. Thus the sense of “losing face” can be all the more problematic.Then we might fear we’re giving power to the other person, or that they have the moral advantage.

Human relationships are stuffed full of all this. It’s how countries have ended up at war and whole peoples have suffered genocide, let alone the feuds and private wars that go on. Backing down, as it seems, is impossible.

Here’s another definition of forgiveness: “giving up the right to punish and truly letting go of all resentment.” There’s a big difference here. This is about a shift in you, without any expectation from the other person. It’s unconditional, non-judgemental. It involves letting go, giving up all the stuff that’s going on inside, all the blame, the judgements, the beliefs about what we think the other person or persons did or said, all the stories, all the allegations, all the so-called “facts” (really points of view), all the hurt we feel, all the pain, all the costs, all the hurt pride and the damaged ego, the whole lot.

This is the hard bit. Letting go of something in ourselves. Going and saying “I forgive you” to another is surprisingly quite easy, especially as you may not actually mean it. But to let go of it in yourself, that’s the real journey, the real healing: letting go of all that anger, upset and bitterness. Peace at last!

I coaching people in improving and maximising their relationships. Click here.

Letting go can be so hard to do

You might hear people say, when someone is struggling with a problem or challenge, “why not just let go of it”? Letting go can sound easy to say, but it can also be really hard. Like letting go of relationships we’ve been in, breaking up with someone we love, where we’ve invested a lot of energy and emotional capital. You might know you need to let go of a situation you are in but a part of you just keeps on at it, like a dog with a bone.

When a separating couple are in dispute and won’t let go

I’ve been reminded recently of this struggle in a situation where two people have been in dispute, during the process of ending a relationship. Each had a very clear view of their position and believed they were right and could “win” their case. However, while for one party it didn’t hurt, for the other it was likely to be very painful. Somehow she needed to let go of the matter and make a settlement, even if it was costly. That would be a strategic move that would avoid worse to come. However, it was hard to let go. She had invested a huge amount in the dispute and believed strongly that she had suffered injustice. Despite being aware at one level of the need to let go, another, very big part of her was very caught up in the injustice. She would even have all sorts of fantasies about engaging the other in a physical fight and being very violent, and of course “winning”. It would keep her awake at night.

I put “win” in inverted commas because I would suggest that people don’t really win, since it tends to come at a cost and victors end up with further issues later on. Yet “win/lose” and its concomitant, “right/wrong,” is another of those ego games that go on, another way we play out the drama of relationship at the ego level.

So what is this investment that we make that we find so hard to let go of?

Our investment in holding on and not letting go

Is it that what drives us forward, that keeps us engaged and with antlers locked, is really the fear of losing, of seemingly admitting we’re “wrong”? And what’s that about? Often it is the fear of the shame we might feel. People really dislike shame and will do all sorts to avoid it. Yet, what we resist we get and it keeps driving us. Is it the feeling of injustice, of having been “wronged”, of something not being “fair”, or a sense of having suffered an injury, or of being a victim? All sorts of old hurts can come with this of course, going back a very long time.

Maybe also there’s even something else behind that. It can be very useful to explore our own pain in a conflict and get what’s really going on, what’s really driving our behaviour, even if it seems like the other has “caused” it. Using the power of developing your self awareness is one way to do this. So, in our example, there’s perhaps the pain of separation, the “breaking of the interpersonal bridge”, as Kaufman calls it in “The Psychology of Shame.”  This is primal stuff, going way back, and yet is so often core to how we are in the world as humans. It was when we fundamentally expected something of another but were thwarted or got the message that it was wrong. The severance of the connection is felt as shame, and we can feel it acutely, but we resist it and over time get into battle over it.

Hence the connection also with relationship, which we don’t like to let go of either!

It’s a tough one, since we are really only playing out our drama with ourselves. The real disconnect is within, but we play it out in the experience of duality in the world out there. Letting go of the drama of conflict and injustice opens up the pathway to inner peace. We are no longer at conflict with ourselves. Letting go is often accompanied by a sense of peace. All there really is is One. So, it’s worth remembering, whenever we feel reluctant to let go, that what we are really resisting is our inner truth of Oneness. It’s another way to re-member.

Being present and aware in whatever you are doing

In all the busyness of your day, I wonder if there’s a part of you that doesn’t want to be doing what you are doing? Or a part that thinks you’ve got too much to do? Or doesn’t want to be where you are? If so, you’re probably not being present.

Apart from considerations of making changes in those situations in the future, it can be worth reflecting on the totality of your awareness in that situation. We can get so heavily invested in our dislike of our current circumstances that we don’t allow ourselves to drop it, let go, surrender and “be” in that moment. Like simply dropping the inner dialogue that is resisting the situation. While we are so resisting, we’re consuming energy in a negative direction. In a way, it is a “denial of life,” as Eckhart Tolle says (in Stillness Speaks).

The skill is to pick up, become aware, that there’s even a tiny bit inside that doesn’t want to be doing it, and to let it go.

A “being in the moment” practice

“Being in the moment” practice can be done by becoming aware of the moment, noticing the inner dialogue, taking a deep breath, and on the out-breath say to yourself, “Let go” of whatever is going on, and then be aware of of your breathing for a few moments. This helps you become present. Then just allow yourself to focus on the Now, and on what’s going on. If your mind goes off somewhere, notice that, breathe, and come back to the present. Keep practicing that.

This is one reason why meditation is so useful, to give you training in letting go and being present. Mindfulness training does that same thing. So does going for a walk and being very present and aware as you do that.

Of course it helps even more if you can raise your awareness of your mind’s tendency to “go off on one” about whatever is going on in your mind, and how to manage that.

Being happy with your lot

How much of your life is taken up by wanting, desire, lack, dissatisfaction and not being happy with your lot? This is about desire and there not “being enough”.

Eastern philosophy gives a big role in its analysis of human suffering to desire. They say that being caught up in desire explains much of our inability to find contentment. Swami Muktananda when responding to someone who complained of always feeling dissatisfied, said,

You become dissatisfied with what you have because you are not aware of all you have. If you were aware of all that you have, it would give you supreme satisfaction, and the question of being dissatisfied would not arise at all. Everyone suffers from this tendency.”

He meant that we have supreme contentment already within us. We already have everything.

Humans can’t get this and so the cycle of desire goes on and on, not being happy with your lot, caught up in dissatisfation, till you do get it and let go.

The effects of desire can be deadly. Wanting creates not just dissatisfaction with our lot, but envy, jealousy and hatred. We compare ourselves with others and we long for things to be better. Thus there’s a seemingly unending pattern of thinking we don’t have enough, aren’t good enough, and our lives are governed by scarcity thinking. We can’t see the natural abundance of the universe. We’re seemingly very caught up in this at the moment.

Here is an alternative approach

Give yourself some time to yourself. Meditation is good. This time, start by allowing yourself to be aware of where you are feeling dissatisfied and then, as you breathe in and breathe out long, as you take your awareness within for meditation, imagine that with the out-breath you are letting go of dissatisfaction. Breathe it out; breathe it away. Take your time. Let it be gone. And now allow yourself to take your awareness to your heart centre and then, once you have settled your focus there, rest in the awareness of the love that naturally dwells there. As far as you can, allow this love to flow around your body and as you meditate, allow this love to flow out around you. Perhaps have the thought of it doing that, or visualise it doing that, or hear the sounds of the very subtle, gentle rustle of the warm, loving breeze as flows out around you. And now, as you meditate, allow that love to spread out around your room, then your house, then your family, then your neighbours, the street where you live, your town, your country, and even the world, to reach all those who are unhappy and who are dissatisfied. Have that intention. Let it be there. Breathe your love out to them. And now just rest in this loving state awhile.

The point is to switch awareness out of your negative state into that which uplifts you, and have your focus be there, happy with your lot, your true lot, who you really are.

Enjoy.

How is it that what you truly want eludes you?

When you try to grab hold of it, it isn’t there. Have you had that experience, really pushing to get hold of what you truly want and it keeps eluding your grasp?

No wonder people get cynical about life. It doesn’t seem to deliver. The more we want, the more we don’t get what we want. What we get instead is wanting.

I was giving a talk last night to a group of interested people about how to connect with inner peace and one questioner expressed the dilemma she experienced of having seemingly spontaneous feelings of contentment and yet when she tried to hold on to them, they vanished.

Even worse, if we try to feel happy, all we get is what we are unhappy about. One is separate from the other.

I explained to the questioner that once we become aware of something like the feeling she described, that whole inner beauty of who we really are, what we yearn for, we disconnect from it. We separate ourselves from the experience. Our rational thinking selves kick in. It becomes subject and object. Here’s us and over there is what we want. Wanting and needing, our ego stuff, gets in the way.

In a nutshell this is a big part of the dilemma of being human. Being in our ego selves, we think of ourselves as finite. After all, the ego is about survival and it fears it won’t survive. So it fights to hang on. Thus we separate ourselves from what we really want, at a soul level.

This is the contracted or limited self, disconnected from the divine in us. The task is to reconnect with the One.

Let go and allow to Be

By being more self-aware, at the fundamental level of awareness of Being, we can learn to let go and allow things and ourselves to Be. This is the creative power of the universe. We’re no longer driven by ego behaviour. Thus many seekers use meditation, to be present and connect and be At One, instead of Alone.

It is often said that our biggest ego barrier is fear. Contemplating the void is scary big time. Yet when we find the courage to let go, embrace the fear, and step into the unknown, we become safe beyond measure. Feeling separate makes us feel afraid. Yet when we embrace fear, it dissolves. After all it is False Evidence Appearing Real, F.E.A.R., an illusion.

So a major self-development challenge in learning to know and be who we really are, is to learn to let go and trust, and through our practices and living a more wholistic life have more of the experience of Being at One.

What you truly want is really love, which is the experience of being at One. All the other things we desire are nothing compared with That.