Monday, September 5, 2011

Looking Within

Those of you who know me well know that I tend to have a lot of energy, love running all over the place and have a hard time sitting still. When I lived in California, my roommate, Karla, and I had an outdated Thich Nhat Hanh calendar with 12 of his precious quotes next to beautiful nature scenes. We decided to put them up around our apartment. She selected one in particular that she thought needed to go in my room, by my bed, so I could read it multiple times a day. It is as follows:

"In daily life, there is so much to do and so little time. You may feel pressured to run. Learn to stop! Touch the present moment and you will touch peace and joy."
I can't tell you how true this is for me and for most of us! But especially those of us with even a little bit of extrovert in us or with a super strong social bug or those of us with children to look after.

I felt inspired today to discuss looking within because here in Atlanta we're having a nice rainy holiday that lends itself to staying in and slowing down. There are so many ways we can do this. We can make a cup of tea and practice tea meditation which essentially means applying deep mindfulness to every step of making and drinking the tea. Noticing and appreciating all the smells, sounds and tastes associated with the process. We could also tend to areas of our house that need our attention but doing so not with the end goal of cleaning it or getting it organized but with the goal of focusing on the process, our own personal process for doing things, becoming aware of how we approach a task and simultaneously applying mindfulness to it. We could also take time to journal about pertinent topics/issues/feelings in our life that we may need to understand more deeply to understand how we can resolve them. And of course, there is always good ole regular sitting meditation in a quiet space where you can hear the rain (if you're in the Atlanta area) or just hear the natural sounds around you. There are an endless number of ways we can look within, these are just a few ideas that came to me. I'm feeling inspired to think of more!

I mentioned in an earlier post how it's especially important to stay in and look within when we are having a rough day or dealing with a particularly difficult issue. This is very true and I think some of the above mentioned ideas for assisting us to look within can very much help us to calm our minds so we can see our feelings or issue more clearly. It is when we have calmed our mind and body that we can see the most clearly, understand our role in a situation or understand how we can make things better. Even when we do our best, we will make mistakes but we can always come back to our process for calming so that we can pick ourselves back up and try again.

I also believe that looking within is a very important "tool" for regular practice, even when things are going wonderfully. Perhaps even more important to practice when things are going well so that we can remember the positive, have it embed itself more deeply into the core of our existence. It is with this focus on the positive that we begin to water the seeds that we wish to have flourish so we have a beautiful garden growing within us. With a well nourished inner garden we can feel that inner beauty and joy we all seek to find... Don't forget, we need not seek that beauty and joy from anywhere else but within. We all have the capacity for joy and happiness and peace - we just need to care for it, nourish it, love it and trust it and it will grow into the most beautiful garden giving us the opportunity to be the person we most desire to be, so each day our presence is like giving the people around us a bouquet of flowers! :-)

Breath. Look. Smile. Understand. Process. Within.

The photo for this post is from the Prozac1 profile on free digital photos.

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