Hot inside and out.
Meditation. I don’t know about you, but I have really been feeling the heat here in Byron Bay over the past few weeks. A really busy start to the year (how can it be the middle of February already?) coupled with the hot days and the humid, airless nights had left me feeling a bit out of sorts.
On top of that I was becoming really pre-occupied with the many bad news stories that I was bombarded with every time I turned the TV or radio on, and I found that in general I was feeling increasingly irritable and stressed. Let’s just say that my inner landscape was reflected by the recent weather in Byron Shire: hot and pretty uncomfortable.
Last week, after a particularly restless night, I found myself up and about before dawn and decided to meditate. Because I had been so busy and distracted I had not been doing much spiritual practice so thought that I might as well get up and do something useful. After all, it wasn’t like I was actually sleeping! As I settled myself onto my meditation cushion, I noticed that despite the very early hour, my mind was very busy and wanted to think about all the things that I needed to get done that day. I won’t pretend that it wasn’t a bit of a struggle at first to make myself stay there and persist with the practice.
I started with pranayama, or breathing exercises, and after a few breath cycles I could feel my body begin to relax. My mind also began to slow its relentless chatter, and the familiar activity of just sitting on my cushion and focusing on my breath began to ease my restlessness. Additionally, I could feel my physical body begin to cool as the breath exercises began to clear my energy field and brought my chakras more into balance. Once I completed the pranayama I spontaneously began to meditate and drifted into a space that was still, calm and cool.
When I opened my eyes it was fully daylight and despite the lack of sleep I felt surprisingly refreshed and cheerful. It was from this peaceful place that I got on with the business of my day.
From the outset, I noticed that I felt really different than I had been over the past couple of weeks. Although the day grew warmer and another hot day was upon us, the heat wasn’t really bothering me the same. I got stuck into my list of jobs and found that things got done really quickly. Even when a complication arose, instead of getting stressed out and annoyed I stayed calm and focused and quickly came up with a solution.
I ended up getting through my ‘To Do’ list so quickly that late in the afternoon I had time to take the dogs to the beach and have a swim. Afterwards I sat on the sand drying off and breathing in the glorious fresh air and watching the dogs and their antics. I felt relaxed, calm and contented despite the busy day that I had had.
I thought about the last few weeks; how hectic it was, how distracted I had been, and how I had been ‘too busy’ to take time out for myself and how it had been ‘too hot’ to meditate. As I reflected, I realised that by taking the time to meditate, I had achieved a lot more in my day, with a lot more laughter and a lot less stress. Not only had I actually enjoyed my day more, the people around me had enjoyed ME a lot more as well!
I found myself feeling really grateful for the reminder that it is when I am busy and when life is hectic that I need to make time to meditate. It is when I have stressful situations to deal with and when the world is going crazy around me that taking time to find that still, cool, calm place within me is a MUST.
Since that day I have been with my meditation practice, and although it takes some discipline and commitment to make sure that I do it every day, it really pays off.
May you all find the time to find the calm and cool place within.
For beginners and experienced meditators alike, our regular Healing Meditation at Unity House is at 9.30am every Sunday. Everyone welcome.