I’m learning to meditate! Can we have a peaceful and silent wooooooo.
Every day for a week I have followed the Oprah-Deepak Chopra lessons of Manifesting Grace through Gratitude 21-day Meditation Experience with zen-like enthusiasm. And I realized, I have no idea what living in gratitude really feels like. Oh sure I have had moments of the sensation, many of which were snuffed out by the oncoming traffic of my daily life. But guess what. I am grateful for that realization in and of itself. Because this gratitude thing may be the key to happiness. I’m not sure, but I am in fact feeling teeny, subtle shifts in the right direction.
It turns out that we can be grateful for things here and there – friends, a good meal, someone’s help when we need it, the last pair of shoes in our size at DSW. But it’s when we see our entire lives as something to be grateful for that we win. And that means even being grateful for the ugly. Not so easy.
Meditation Day 7 had particular meaning for me. It was about resistance. I have been learning about resistance to obstacles in life for quite some time from a wise woman, who continued to gently remind me that resistance to our crap only makes it grow. This law of the Universe is a tough one, because it forces us to confront – if we choose to – what is keeping us stuck on the merry go round of misery.
Let me share a few nuggets from Oprah and Chopra about removing resistance that are worth remembering.
When we struggle, or face obstacles, it is a message from our true self to pay attention and take a fresh look at the situation. When we do that we will find that we are really facing inner resistance, and carry stuck, pessimistic beliefs blocking us. We look at the dark side of life and tell ourselves there isn’t much to feel grateful for. We may feel entitled to reward, and entitlement is simply selfishness in disguise. But when we practice gratitude, our whole perspective changes and we see life as the gift. This shift from pessimism to optimism allows us to see and understand that the ups and downs of our daily existence pale in comparison to the infinite generosity of nature, and all of life. It’s about letting go of conditioned thinking and expanding ourselves, surrendering, and accepting ourselves as the smaller part of a greater whole, and allowing the open channel to bathe us in grace.
It’s easy to meditate on that with soft, soothing meditation music and an assigned mantra from Deepak to keep us on track for those few minutes, quieting the mind and settling into stillness. No resistance there. But let’s face it. When we get on with the rest of our day, we will likely face more obstacles and more resistance…hence the term “practice.” But just learning about gratitude and grace, and then practicing – as often as we forget we remember – to pause, open our heart and trust life, and ourselves, that all will be well.