In “The Willing Way,” Mariel Hemingway and Bobby Williams help readers tap back into nature with tips for stepping away from the frantic, everyday experience in favor of simple, mindful life. Here's an excerpt.
Meditation Made Easy:
Meditation requires you only to show up and get quiet. This can be done anywhere, any place, any time. It can be done in stillness and in movement. The movement can be anything-writing, painting, dancing, running, walking. It can happen during athletic movement or an event and, of course, while laughing and playing. It's the commitment of being fully connected anywhere. People connect to silence in many ways, and finding stillness during activity is an amazing experience worth working on.
Mariel: When I first started meditating, I did it for only five minutes at a time. Then every couple of days I added one more minute until eventually I was up to 20 then 30 minutes twice a day. While I find that this really works for me, it may be too much for others. It's about finding what length of time is right for you. Start with five minutes like I did and see where it goes from there. Initially, sitting alone with yourself may feel uncomfortable. Start slowly. Even two to five minutes is a good beginning. You'll find that you'll be able to be quiet in many places-and in time, with or without other people around you. You will notice that silence is everywhere. You can enjoy moments of silence anywhere from the beach to the bus stop, from waiting in line to going for a walk. Take the time when it is given to you. Observe your inhales and your exhales. Breathing is always a way to check in with yourself.
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Listen to your thoughts; do you feel angry, happy, sad, hungry, thirsty or bored? And then ask yourself, "Who am I being right now? Is this my choice?" Make a conscious choice to be what and who you want to be in this moment.
Be curious about quietness. See how loud it can be-the buzz of a bee or a fly, a hum from the electronics in the room. Notice these sounds, but don't hold onto them. They are the white noise-the backdrop for the sound of your inner voice. Allow yourself to have every thought and feeling as you meditate, making nothing bad or wrong. Though we may find some thoughts shameful, judgmental or embarrassing, this is merely a reaction of the unconscious mind. For instance, as you begin to quiet yourself for meditation, you might think to yourself, "There is no time for this. . . ." Guilt has no place in your silent time. Simply observe that thought-don't give it a negative or a positive charge. It has no power in this moment. Let it pass. The idea is to be the objective observer of what surfaces in your mind. Oftentimes these thoughts are unconscious and reactive to what someone else has told us and not at all what is actually taking place now. Make it your goal to see things for what they are rather than what you think they are. Remind yourself that you will always have Live Silence 51 thoughts; it is what you do with them when they come up that matters. Allow them and let them go. When you do this, you might have an epiphany or "aha" moment that you are not your thoughts. This is profound.
As Miguel Ruiz teaches in The Fifth Agreement: A Practical Guide to Self-Mastery, when we believe false ideas, they pull us away from our authentic Self. In meditation, we can let go of the power these ideas have had on our lives. We can allow our feelings and thoughts to rise without judgment and watch them go. It is our practice not to buy into feelings that cause anxiety or pain. We are fine for feeling them, and we are even happier (if not healthier) for letting them go. We can choose to handle them in a constructive way. When we accept our feelings as natural, normal, healthy and productive ways of communicating with our inner Self, we are much less likely to act out on them inappropriately in ways that hurt ourselves or others.
Acknowledging and accepting our feelings leads to acceptance of our entire being. When we are aware of how we show up in our lives day to day, we are more able to have healthy, productive relationships. How can we understand and have compassion for others when we can't understand or care for ourselves? Our relationship with our Self is the most important one we have.
From THE WILLING WAY by Mariel Hemingway and Bobby Williams. Copyright © 2013 by Mariel Hemingway and Bobby Williams. Reprinted by permission of Changing Lives Press.
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