This year I’ve continued to spend more time deepening my own practice, including continuing my ritual of regular Silent Meditation Retreats. Recently I attended 2 x 10 Day Silent Retreats both with different areas of focus with Teachers of different lineages. Without the distraction of talking, conversation, no technology, you are left simply to “be” with whatever arises.
Doubt, Restlessness, and Worry are just some of the common hurdles we can face on and off the Yoga Mat / Meditation Cushion and in life. Thankfully the Yogis gave us tips on how to overcome these obstacles which arise for us all at different times in different ways.
What I found interesting was in the Sutras there was one repeated suggestion for all of the obstacles listed. I’ve shared this as the last point/tip.
Tips From the Sutras when confronted with Doubt, Restlessness or Worry :
1. Being aware of the impact of holding beings outside of your heart. This gets stored in different patterns in the body. Learning the fine line between boundaries and compassion is where the real yoga practice begins in life.
2. Metta Meditation (Love and Kindness Meditation) focusing on the wish for all beings to be safe, happy and free. At times this can be difficult if we have been hurt. A favorite quote of mine from Rumi ~ “You’re heart is as big as the ocean” springs to mind. If you struggle with the idea of holding all beings in your heart, especially those you have been hurt by, then consider your heart is as big as the ocean. It may be more realistic and kind for yourself to consider your Metta Meditation maybe visualising the person being sent love and kindness, but “perhaps, for now, you visualize them safe and sound in in the Atlantic” This way your Metta Meditation is less likely to cause you more grief. Giving yourself the time and space to heal is a sign of respect for you and that person.
3. Seeking clarification, questioning things rather than just blind faith. Get to “know thyself” to reveal the answers you seek. This is hard to do with constant distractions tugging on our ‘desire’ strings.
4. Visiting Elders – perhaps in this day and age this is becoming a little lost? Taking time to listen and realise our elders, our grandparents, people who have been here longer than us actually have a lot to offer. And they are not always going to be around. Thankfully some are taking the time to write the teachings down and pass them on. Are we taking the time to “listen”
And last but not least this tip below is one that is repeated for all of the Obstacles that arise in Yoga, Meditation and in life:
** Spend time with good friends and have suitable conversation!
Keeping good company, supporting each other is the essence of Sangha and it is why regardless of how experienced we think we are there is such goodness that comes from Meditating or practicing in a group.
One of the biggest reasons for people falling off their own path that they know is beneficial for them is lack of support, good friends and a suitable conversation.
Sometimes we do not need to perfect our arm balance, or inversion or downward dog pose, what we need is to reach out to our mates or our teachers. Consider making this a priority for your self-care plan.
Although many of my teachers are in there 50’s to 80’s what stands out is they too still continue to go and spend time with their teachers. A big thanks to the many teachers from various lineages who have offered support and inspiration in Mindfulness &/or Meditation in various ways. Forever grateful to Meditation Teachers / Authors and Trainers over the years that I have been fortunate to spend time with and learn from : Sally Kempton, Richard Freeman, Richard Miller, Mary Taylor, Liana Taylor, Patrick Kearney, Mark Tongi and Dan Millman each of you have had a big influence on my practice and teaching. Thanks for your guidance and inspiring me over the years to continue to share Yoga and Mindfulness and to continue to “sit” and be in Silence and learn from that.
And of course to my primary teacher ~ The Undercover Yogi. Thank you.
Stay tuned on more Tips from the Sutras on dealing with other hindrances that can pop up and how to put these tips into action in our practice. We explore more of this in our classes, programs and private mentoring / Teacher Training Programs.
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