Meditation for Parents

It takes some courage for people to admit that they don’t know what they are doing when it comes to parenting. Parenting is an amazingly profound arena for spiritual growth. For so many of us it is a place we feel most challenged. For others not as much. I don’t relate to those people.

If you feel like you don’t know how to be the parent you want to be

If you don’t know how to keep serenity when it comes to your children

If you want to feel more comfortable in your role as a parent

If you feel so often that you don’t have much to give at the end of the day

If you feel like no matter what you do you are messing up anyway

If you feel lonely, lost or like you have to fake it til they grow up…

You are in the right place.

Being a parent can be challenging, but single parenting takes it up a notch. My married friends have another person to lean on when it comes to household income, responsibilities, decisions regarding children, and needing time to step away – even if to do the grocery shopping. Those of us who are single don’t have that luxury.

Yet there is a way to make peaceful parenting a way of life – regardless of your marital status. Meditation for parents is crucial. How can you find the time? Well, take it from a mom who is single and busy, you can. You have to. It has to be a priority and you have to exercise the muscle of protecting the practice and your peace – or you can forget finding balance in life, peace in parenting or reprieve from the ceaseless barrage of mental chatter creating undo stress and suffering in your already fragile state.

I want to give you a gift right now…you can return to balance – you can experience more confidence, energy and peace in your parenting. You can reduce the affects stress has on you and your family. You can rest in what is – not just conceptualize that you should. You can teach your children about living authentically and mindfully from a relaxed, realistic state of alertness, by living that way yourself. You can dispel fear, anxiety and worry that keeps you up at night and unfocused during the day. You can fill that loneliness and doubt with aliveness, fulfillment, purpose and self-love. You can find the confidence, creativity and peace you need and deserve to be the parent you want to be. You can change your habitual mental habits, thereby changing your relationship to parenting, through meditation!

If I can do this, you can do this. If I can breathe into anger – mine or my child’s, you can. If I can stand still in chaos and let the creative flow take me through the challenges and changes each day brings, so can you. If I can know deep stillness, silence and absolute perfection in the midst of chaos – anyone, including you can too. If I can set aside a few times a day to close my eyes – so can you!

Interested in reducing stress, increasing confidence, beginning to feel like you are doing everything to the best of your ability to truly serve the little beings you brought into this world? Okay, then are you ready to release the need to be right, in control or even the need to know how things are supposed to unfold? Boy I sure hope so.  You deserve it. And so do your kids.  You have to be ready to let things be as they are, though. And you have to be ready and willing to ignore the voice in your head telling you all the harsh things it does about your parenting responsibilities and how you are doing with them.

Sounds like a lot, I know, but the truth is, your peace isn’t waiting in the future, it’s waiting for you to notice it right now – over the chaos outside or the chatter inside. It’s waiting for you to change your relationship to all the noise and start looking for the peace therein. It’s waiting for you to choose it over your suffering – over the voice in your head telling you that you screwed it up once again.

I swear it is. It’s my experience. There isn’t peace or chaos. There is always peace. You can not take my word for this – you have got to find this truth out for yourself. In your own meditation practice you will find this key unlocking all the good that was sitting there waiting for you. You’ve been sitting on a treasure trove of peace. You’ve been sitting on an eternal connection to your purpose, your peace and your ability to guide your children in the right and perfect way that only you can. It’s right there in you now. Not apart from you in some other moment – but right there, right now. It couldn’t be any other way.

Sit back. Cut yourself some slack – breath in deeply to this moment. Let go of all responsibility. Relax for a moment. You got somewhere better to be than right here? Maybe, just maybe, this is as simple as it gets. You’ll complicate it. Reducing stress, changing your habits and relating to the stressors and to your mind differently all requires great effort and a lot of time doesn’t it? Like Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right.” Decide to at least be willing to see if peace is right here – and then notice where you decide something else is more important.

You got this. I’m right there with you.

Rodasi

 

Meditating and Playing in Nature

meditating in woods angleToday is the first day in a few weeks that I had nothing planned, no obligations, nothing to do but hang out at home with Lauren and chill. Okay, so for a single mom there is always something to do. On days like today when nothing else is on the agenda, I find it feels really good to do the dishes, laundry, and other cleaning, organizing and planning. I love the open-schedule for us to just be together and sometimes, in moment’s like this one, my daughter is doing her thing and I am doing mine.

We had another moment like that about 2 hours ago. Lauren and I are loving our new home so much and yet we had not gotten out of doors to explore the small patch of evergreens behind the house, to play in the yard or to otherwise explore our new surroundings. It is so quiet out here. I love the peace of being outside the city limits and the grounding sense of this patch of Earth. So, the next obvious step was finally getting outside to do that exploring – it felt amazing!

As Lauren and I explored the trees and checked out the really limited pathways through for humans, we noticed the tracks of deer, birds, squirrels and other animals who’d came through this very small patch of woods. I was taken back to my years in a smaller body exploring nature in all season – it was very magical and sometimes so enlivening that it spooked me! Lauren had that experience at the end of our visit to the woods.

We’d found a small clearing that I decided to sit down and meditate while Lauren dug a big hole in the snow. It was amazing to practice outdoors like that. I’d forgotten how delicious, expansive and easy it is to drop deep and keep restfully alert in Nature. Like hours and no time at all both had gone by. Practicing with eyes open the rest of the way through the forest, I found such connection to the trees, snow, and Earth; to the air and the little bit of sun we also got to see. I also felt so grateful to Lauren. Though it was my idea to get outside, it was her childlike sense of adventure and innocent fascination with the infinite discoveries made in just an hour out in the woods made good impact on my adult sensibilities!

After we explored quite a big part of our small forest of pines, we began to make our way back through the woods and toward the house. At about the halfway point, Lauren stopped and asked if she could go back to the clearing for a little bit. I, of course said she could. I also recommended she find a little something to leave there in the woods. In certain traditions, making some kind of formal connection to the land around you is encouraged, valued and said to be not only the polite, but the wise thing to do. My version of this went unnoticed and was very internal for me while Lauren and I had been together in the woods. I said prayers and meditated and even touched many of the trees bringing my life force (consciousness) to meet with theirs. Lauren followed me to the house and carefully chose 4 stones to take to the forest. Lauren set out to place these treasures wherever she felt led. When she came back, she shared that, though it was enjoyable to be out there by herself, something felt creepy to her. I asked if she felt it might be the animals, the fairies or the trees themselves were watching her – cause that’s sort of the sense that I always got as a child. She agreed.

This interchange made me more firmly convinced in the importance of connecting to Nature consciously for so many reasons, but the message today was not only the healing of just disconnecting and communing with Nature instead of electronics and the hustle and bustle of life. Our well-being and the ability to sit in the places that scare us – inside or out grows easily from being with Nature. Here I find we can allow our hugeness and the hugeness of Nature to destroy that limited sense of small-self; maybe sometimes through tingling sensations, the experience of something “unseen” watching us, or even of  feeling connected to the trees.  I’ll be heading to that clearing more often to close my eyes. What a thrill.

What Does Going on a Retreat Do For Me?

meditation retreat

People guess that I go on a retreat to de-stress, to relax, to be able to spend hours doing nothing but meditating. Yes, well, that is true, but it also gives me:

  • passion to share with others
  • conviction to keep making peace my priority every day
  • muscle-memory for the inner-movement of awareness
  • a deep sense of joy
  • the rock-solid ability to rest in silence, in stillness, in peace
  • a powerful sense that I am totally living life on and in purpose
  • connection with incredible people who experience the same desire I have – to be free, to know unbroken peace, to be of service to the world
  • hearing and sharing challenges of the journey including unconscious pitfalls I create and ways to transcend, allow and otherwise, more fully accept these as a part of the beautiful journey of life
  • tips, techniques, and tools to more easily, gracefully and playfully explore life from resting in the unbroken awareness of peace, joy and love

I could go on. The point is that the first few assumptions are correct, but this is no passive journey – it’s a vastly engaging one. I don’t do it just cause I love sitting around. Going on retreat is restorative, expansive, powerful and restful, yes. But I also find it a complete hoot of a good time! Sometimes I find families together on retreat. I find newbies who are just opening to a deeper sense of connection and ability to rest in love and beginning to let joy become bigger in their lives. I find those who’ve been journeying longer than I who have vast wisdom and experience to offer up making my own life’s exploration easier, lighter and funner. I find I have a lot to offer, a lot to learn, and both sides of that never end.

Every time I get to retreat, I find that I usually laugh so hard that my face muscles don’t know what to do, I relax so much that I physically look lighter and brighter, and I connect so deeply with both Source and other people that I feel like I could never, ever believe in the reality of suffering again.

If you find that you are getting by with your practice, but know that there is more joy, more sustainable peace and a deeper sense of unbounded connection available – go get some retreat for yourself. It’s true – it’s there, in this moment waiting for you. Why not explore with a bunch of other amazing folks seeking, and more importantly finding, the same as you. It’s always life-changing, and wouldn’t it be something to go on retreat and find that after you return home, the retreat seems to continue on – no matter what life throws your way? That is my experience – and it can be yours too. Claim it. These experience can and do become evermore sustainable and evermore omnipresent in daily life. Think it’s outside your reach? Don’t let that limiting belief mean anything to you. It’s erroneous, my friend. Like Ford said, “Whether you think you can or think you can not – you are right.”

Rock on – and see you eternally in the blissful silence of right now.

Love, Rodasi

Reduce Stress

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To reduce stress you can start with the outside first, temporarily, if you wish. It might help, for a time.

But you know as well as I do that things change beyond our control and what we really want is to filter stress and have a way to remain connected, balanced and centered no matter what.

Stop everything right now. Breathe and lean into what is. And what exactly is right now like? Let the awareness be wide. Notice the resistance to the moment – to your peace. It’s trying to have you…and you think you have something more important to do.

Aren’t you tired yet? Tired of trying to control the environment, your mind, stress? Just stop. Observe with curiosity what actually is. Who cares what the mind says. Pay more attention to the space around and within you. This is a quick way to peace and to reducing stress. It’s not enough to conceptualize. Do it.

Who Meditates

There are people all over the world whom I personally know who practice some type of meditation. These people may or may not be: Buddhist, Catholic, Atheist, gay, straight, single parents, couples, teenagers, 86 years old, Vietnam Veteran, CEO of Corporations, actors, Norwegian Symphony musicians, rockers, farmers, poor, regular average normal people, Vegetarians, meat-eaters, hippies, yuppies, or independent-millionaire wealthy.

Who practices meditation? Anyone.

One thing that I deeply appreciate about the International organization (The Bright Path) that I study and teach with is all the people I get to merge paths with who are nothing like me on many levels. And yet, for all the differences, our sameness is so firmly rooted in the singularly most important aspect of our particular lives that it transcends details like politics, dietary preference and economic status. What a refreshing notion!

Too much of what is believed about Meditation out there is erroneous but nothing more sad to me than the belief that it is for a select few. There is NO demographic defined or required in terms of who can, could or should practice Meditation.

You do not have to change a thing about you or your life to begin. You will benefit from practicing no matter how busy your mind or life is. You can do it – not a single person can’t meditate. It’s a matter of willingness alone.

I do not want someone out there to think you need to eat kale and be able to do fancy yoga poses in order to meditate. You don’t have to quit smoking, lose weight or wait until your kid’s graduation before you are ready. You are either ready or not now- and this has nothing to do with anything but a voice in your head.

You know the one. It sounds like you. It tells you that you “can’t” or are “too busy.” Right? But if you have any curiosity at all to see what life is like on meditation- if your heart calls you to find that something more, I implore you to give it a go. Your unique flavor is important – you, exactly as you are.

Meditation is Easy

elephant and devoteeIt’s our nature to be still. It is the nature of the mind to move.

When we learn to identify with that stillness once again (as we did as infants, toddlers and on up til we no longer did so), we find they watcher has always been watching – not identifying with the mind’s movement.

The mind says it’s unsafe to let go completely. The heart knows it can rest in the letting go. Meditation helps us to let go. Meditation establishes a new habit of identifying with the watcher – the silent, still, witness, rather than the movement of the mind. Meditation is supremely easy – with the right tool to move awareness back inward and re-establish life in the present moment.

The only part of you that could argue or agree with me is your mind. The only part of you that can join me in knowing the living experience of this is your heart – or that pure, witnessing consciousness. When one steps over the line of needing to be identified with anything other than that- or at least has this as one’s foremost heart’s desire, one finds supreme ease.

Meditation – real meditation, is easy. It is a state of being. And it is one you once knew in this lifetime already. Don’t let your identification with the mind keep you in separation (and suffering) for the rest of your life…choose the path of the brave-hearted – one of transcending the mind.

Identify With the Sky

thebrightpath.com

thebrightpath.com

I did not like this idea when I first “tried” to meditate. I couldn’t understand how thoughts were like clouds – it just was not my experience. I can tell you that while I can see how this helps some folks, it never has been my experience. It will work for some of you – to see your thoughts like clouds floating by or like objects moving through on the conveyor belt of your mind. Not me.

“Identify with the sky.” Now that’s something that grabbed hold of me. What’s the sky? What’s watching those thoughts float through? That’s captivated my attention. Paying attention to the thoughts, well, that was distracting for me. I required a way to let my awareness gently rest back and pay more attention to the Sky!!

I can let thoughts do whatever they do and no matter how many or few, no matter what the content of them, they do NOT have to have influence on me today. This isn’t to say that I don’t forget and out of habit go back to the pretty little thought floating by my Sky and accidentally put more attention on it than on the vast Sky…and this new habit didn’t happen over night. But with the right tools, it absolutely can happen and swiftly at that.

No matter what stage of the “game” you may feel yourself to be at, you will resonate either with watching the thoughts like they are clouds – and so gain familiarity by default with yourself as the observer. Or you will resonate with watching for the context through which the thoughts/clouds are moving. You see, either way can work. Play with both if you are compelled. What’s great is, playing with it from either direction doesn’t leave much room for incessant thinking (equating to the build up of stress and life lived no where near the present moment). Should you begin to self-dialog about how you are doing in there, see this for another habit of the mind. It isn’t a problem so long as you come back to playing with these recommended exercises. Don’t waste a second on judging yourself. Get back to the practice.

What is observing those thoughts? In what are they contained? What is that container? What is the context? What is the Sky like? Taking the awareness within and letting it widen, you will ultimately see space between you and the clouds and will see the Sky. You will notice the aspect of you that is silently observing the Sky. And at some point, you may discover that the Observer and the Sky are the same thing. Woah!

Keep it simple. Stay innocent and curious. You never arrive at a full understanding. Understanding the Sky and really Knowing the Sky are two different things – and there seems to be more always to discover.  Trying to understand is a habit of the mind; having a living experience is a shift in consciousness. Explore this. Maybe you notice thoughts as clouds and begin to identify with the Sky. Maybe you look for the Sky letting the thoughts be out there doing their thing. Either way, keeping playful here will absolutely change your relationship to your mind, body and life.

It’s helpful to have a technique to support your awareness going inward and anchoring it there. My personal practice has been a rock-solid tool for this. Let me know if you are interested or check out the website above (under the image). And as always, don’t take my word for this. Never. Find out for yourself – the Sky is the LIMIT and the World is waiting for you to stretch out beyond the identification with those clouds – be they happy or stormy…there is more.

Namaste – Rodasi

Meditation is Hard

rodasi ascendingHey there! I love getting to teach – I learn so much!

This morning a new student asked about her fear of falling asleep. Anyone else been there? You may have another version – fear of not being able to do it, fear of not being able to quiet the mind, fear of just sitting there and not getting anything achieved, fear of disappearing, fear of what you’ll find in there. All of these fears have one thing in common – they exist in the mind.

Some of us have voices in our heads – most everyone I know, actually. You talk to yourself in there. There is a voice that sounds like you – right? Yeah – well, it’s not you, but it sure seems like it. You know what I’m talking about. It’s the thing everyone wants to be free from. And in actuality, we already are, we are just looking in the wrong place; identified with the wrong thing. The whole idea that we could be a voice in our head makes me giggle, actually. But no one ever told us otherwise, so we keep paying attention to the darn thing. How do we break this habit? Truly effective Meditation.

There are many new age friends of mine who believe that there is digging around and a whole lot of work to be done in order to be able to transcend limitations, beliefs and old behaviors. In one way, and certainly from the perspective of the mind, this may be true. However, what’s true for me, is that beyond the mind lies forever an infinite field of consciousness. When we become intimately familiar with this, we discover that the only problem and all suffering exist in the mind – and not in reality. From here there is no digging around or work to do. There is the experience of transcendence and from there everything really takes care of itself.

Yeah – challenge me on it – I did. But I’ll not argue with you or any voice in my head this time. It’s a waste of everyone’s time. The truth doesn’t need to be defended, anyway, ya know? As for you, playfully, curiously and attentively watch to see if what I’m saying is true.

There are a multitude of ways and a deluge of reasons that the mind will come up with for why you can’t meditate. Meditation is hard. It’s true. From the perspective of the mind. But you are not the mind. You are that which has been watching the movements of the mind your entire life. You – what you actually are, doesn’t care whether you fall asleep, snore and drool on yourself. The real you doesn’t care how well you are doing – doesn’t check in on the experience to see if you’ve “won” yet or if you are proceeding successfully. It couldn’t do it because it doesn’t perceive a separate “you” in the first place. From the perspective of the true Self, there is perfection. There is stillness and unity. There is nothing to fix or change or get deeper into or better at. That is my experience.

So who cares if meditation is hard? No really. WHO is it that cares? Do you? I doubt it. The real you may be fascinated, however at how the mind would put something so trivial in front of supreme reality in the first place. I promise. If you were sitting in my class and we were practicing together and you dissolved into attentive consciousness for any length of time and started drooling on yourself, I’d help take care of  the body until you were able to do so again yourself! Ha ha!

Seriously though – there is no reason good enough to believe that meditation can’t work for you or that you aren’t able to meditate. Meditation isn’t really hard. It’s so simple. Only your mind would suggest otherwise.  Enjoy the exploration. Peace.

 

Only You

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I just found and re-read this. I dunno why it didn’t get published yet. It inspired me so here you go!

I had a realization today that made me cry. No one in the whole world could ever be able to know for me, choose for me, or do anything for me – it all comes from inside.

Now, I have a spiritual teacher – who is my heart. He guides me but not-so-much-in that he tells me what to do. He doesn’t. I’ve been exasperated at times when he just told me to follow my heart instead of telling to specifically choose or not choose some particular action in life. I heard a voice in my head that said,”why won’t you just do this for me!” (And it sounded kinda whiney)

I was eventually aware of a desire to be told what to do – to give my power away to an authority figure. I realized that we are a culture of people who do this. Some more than others. Some step more easily into the authority role. But in any case, we like this game. It is an undercurrent in our consciousness. The longer I watched this particular mechanism, the more fascinating it became – right up to today and likely on and on forever.

Its really strange, but we don’t want to admit, or are afraid to face, that everything we have ever been looking for is right here in the quiet recesses of our own self. We are terrified to think that we may not have this quite right – that it may take some psychotherapy, reiki, another degree, the right lover, or a new house then we’ll likely be ready to trust ourselves. The irony in this, I have found, is that left to my own, I begin to listen once again to my head (which mimics the heart so very well) rather than that small, still voice of flawless guidance.

The irony is that without proper guidance it can be very confusing and nearly impossible to always know where to look for that voice. Having conscious people around who can help to discern which is the voice of heart and which is the voice of head is priceless in growing an evermore clear, evermore trusting of how to know which is which.

After many years of journeying on my own, I am utterly thankful to have found a teacher, and a community of conscious clear mirrors to share life’s joyful mysteries with. It is true though, that no matter what is being reflected, recommended or cautioned against, it is only we who can choose. We must choose to be present, to sit and practice, to express ourselves as honestly as we can, and to ask for help when we need it. We must choose to take in the advice of others or not. In the end, only we have the power to choose for ourselves. None other.

From what I can see, this has always been true in a sense. There is no one else who can make sure I take care of this body but me – my trainer can walk beside me while I do rows of lunges across the room, but I have to do the lunge.

My teacher can reflect infinite freedom and joy to me and even share tips with me about how to experience it for myself, but I have to be the one willing to implement the tips and choose to continually enliven my own experience of silence within. No one else can do it. It isn’t possible. I have to be willing to claim my place in my life as the hero on my own journey. And so it is for each of us.

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