Meditation Isn’t Always Peaceful
When you meditate a range of thoughts and emotions may rise to your awareness. It’s tempting in those moments to judge yourself as inadequate or to get up and walk away from your meditation because it isn’t pleasant. Instead just be with your discomfort, without judging it.
Breathe and move in a way that allows you to feel it and then release it. If you use mantras let your voice express the feeling and the realising of it. Just keep feeling it and releasing it, keep going and keep breathing eventually you will come to a place of peace and balance.
It’s happens to the most experienced meditators.
This morning I was doing my usual Hatsurei Ho sequence (a Reiki meditation) and thoughts and feelings of anxiety around business decisions began to arise. I felt the urge to stop meditating and go to my desk and get on with my ’work’.
Sort out my AdWords campaign, make sure my new websites are SEO friendly, do this blog and be on top of my social media campaign. That mundane, everyday crap we insist on placing on our shoulders was tugging at my mind and body.
The Hatsurei Ho sequence was ending. The sounds of the Japanese precepts began to fill the air, like gentle waves caressing the shore; still my heart pained with a sense of urgency, a need to do instead of just being.
I sat with it, I yawned, I moved my hands from prayer position to my third eye, to my crown, even behind my head. The precept ’Just for today do not worry’ coming to mind and I sat with it, the worry, the urgency, the pain in my heart centre.
I yawned some more and my eyes began to fill with tears, not emotional tears, just watery eyes that overflowed down my cheeks. I sighed and sighed and puffed out great gusts of air from my lungs, just allowing the unpleasant feelings to rise and release naturally from within me.
Through awareness and acceptance, we can create peace.
The Reiki precepts changed to the sacred sounds of the Kotodama. I moved in and out of my desire to flee, to follow the sense of urgency in my body. I began to join in with the Kotodama and for the first few minutes the sounds I uttered were more wearisome than sacred. I kept breathing, kept chanting, kept moving, all with the intention of allowing the internal struggle to express itself and release.
Then suddenly and as if by magic, for the last few beats of the Kotodama I felt peace, real peace. I remained in that place of peace after the music faded to nothing, enjoying the lightness; that sense of conflict gone now, completely.
It’s easy to follow ideals in our heads about what we should be doing, or even how we should be being. Meditation and mindfulness is all the rage now, it has been for a while. Perhaps because it is so useful and powerful and yet we are bombarded with images of perfection, beautiful women, serenely meditating in some idyllic place.
This is not reality, this is the media.
You may still be in your pj’s, your dogs may be jumping all over you, your hair yet washed and brushed, sitting on a dog chewed sofa battling with your inner demons.
Mental and emotional challenges can arise from meditation. Many of us will find that we can sit with them and move through them. However, if you are struggling with persistent disturbing thoughts or feelings please seek professional advice and guidance.
The world for a long time has presented meditation and spiritual development as an airy-fairy nonsense adventure for the weak minded – thankfully this is beginning to change. This old attitude towards meditation and spiritual development is unfortunate because it is far from the truth of serious practitioners. It’s unfortunate because it means that many aren’t aware that challenging issues may arise and professional guidance could be required.
For most people, their meditation practise may be a bit bumpy with challenges that take courage and determination to overcome but will ultimately bring about profound and wonderful changes. For a very small number, additional help and support may be needed to make the most of their journey and to remain safe and well as they travel along that path.
The right teacher is important.
For those considering a course, which involves personal or spiritual development or mindfulness meditation, please check that your teacher is willing to provide long term support. If they don’t or there is much resistance or restriction, I suggest you look for a different teacher.
If you suffer from anxiety, depression, any form of mental illness or have a family history of mental illness, it would be wise to let your teacher know. If you are currently experiencing difficulties during meditation or because of your meditation practice, please get in touch. I am happy to advise as and where I can, or recommend where you could go for help if it is beyond my expertise.
Otherwise, if you find the less peaceful and serene aspects of yourself rising when you meditate, simply be aware of them. Let them breathe, sigh, scream if they need to, love them and don’t judge them. Their energy will soon flow and drift and dissipate leaving space, lightness and peace.
The Japanese Reiki Precepts
The Japanese Reiki precepts are a lovely reminder of how we can adjust our perception and attitude when challenging moments arrive in life or during our meditations. So, here’s a video to remind you of those precepts and nudge you gently through your meditation.