When you dwell in stillness, the judging mind can come through like a foghorn. “I don’t like the pain in my knee…This is boring…I like this feeling of stillness; I had a good meditation yesterday, but today I’m having a bad meditation…It’s not working for me. I’m no good at this. I’m no good, period…” This type of thinking dominates the mind and weighs it down. It’s like carrying around a suitcase full of rocks on your head. It feels good to put it down. Imagine how it might feel to suspend all your judging and instead to let each moment be just as it is, without attempting to evaluate it as “good” or “bad.” This would be a true stillness, a true liberation. Meditation means cultivating a non-judging attitude toward what comes up in the mind, come what may.
From the article on why we meditate, by Kristin Shepherd
For me, there's no question. It's a lifelong discovery process of looking more and more deeply into who I am, what is truth, and what remains when I let go of everything.
June is here, and it’s the midpoint in the year. This provides us all with a time to look both back and ahead. What have we accomplished? What have we experienced? What do we hold in our hearts for the future? How can we honor ourselves, and the tension of the past year, while still finding time for peace, ourselves, friends and family?
This year, June (a 1 month) provides a time for transitions, new beginnings and opportunities. This will mean that you may have the chance to start a new project or relationship, or it may seem like one falls into your lap. However, part of the Numerological theme of 2011 is about structure and finding balance between your outer and inner needs. By now, you may recognize the outer pull of daily life (which at times may feel chaotic) and your inner need for fun, calm, balance and connection.
During the first few days of June, you may wish to contemplate on how you might begin to bring greater balance into your life. If you have not already done so, then you may wish to begin a regular gym, journal or meditation routine. Any activity that helps you to connect with your heart and helps you to release and transform pent up worry, frustration and doubt can be beneficial at this time. As having a strong sense of compassion can also be very beneficial, you may also wish to learn about the Buddhist practice of Tonglen.
Disenchantment, whether it is a minor disappointment or a major shock, is the signal that things are moving into transition in our lives. ~ William Throsby Bridges
As May (a 9 month) was a time for change, endings and transitions, you can look back to May to evaluate the areas in your life that need to be revamped or rejuvenated. You may wish utilize any potential feelings of being disenchanted, disconnected or unsatisfied in your life as stepping stones to the life that you desire. Allow your feelings to guide you to choices that help you to better resonate with the call of your heart. Perhaps it is time for a change at home or work. It might also be time to take on new roles or responsibilities.
During the entire year it can be important for you to understand about how you relate to responsibility, discipline and humor. As this year can bring in many Numerological experiences around balance, it can be important for you to know how to apply yourself to your work, but also to be able to set it aside, break away and find time to celebrate life with family and friends.
Good questions to reflect on now might be:
- How am I bringing balance into my life?
- What is my heart calling for me to act on?
- Where do I feel challenged, and how might I get help?
- What am I ready to begin?
- How can I bring greater peace into my life?
Monday, April 4th provides an opportunity for triple 4’s to come into all of our lives. I’ve written about working with reappearing numbers (specifically numbers like 111 and 444) that regularly reappear in your life. See here and here. If you've been seeing 444's in your life, then today can be an especially invigorating and powerful day for you. Although, it can provide opportunities for finding personal balance for everyone.
Numerologically, the 4 is a strong counterbalance to the dynamic and creative energy of the 1. The number 4 generally relates to being centering, grounded, down-to-earth, reliable and structured. In the Tarot, the Emperor is the 4th card and it can represent authority, discipline and reason. If you're familiar with the Tarot, you may wish to reflect on it, especially on the 4th.
Consider a brief example of the contrasting personalities that these numbers can influence, but realize that there are of course many circumstances, themes and energies at play within all of our lives. The individual with a strong 1 dynamic is willing to get up early, go out and do all the chores and finish the shopping for dinner. The individual with the strong 4 dynamic is still willing to do those things, but recognizes that someone needs to do the cleaning, cook the food and pay the bills. People living under the influence of the number 1 can be more outward directed, while those living under the number 4 can be more inward and centered.
In order to better understand the power and influence of these numbers in your own life, you may wish to review your Core Numbers to get a better understanding of your own Numeroligical makeup. Specifically, you will wish to focus on your Life Path as the challenges and opportunities that are currently showing up can be helping, or hindering, you to answer its call.
April 4th can provide you the opportunity to look at your life in a balanced, simple and practical way. What have you been holding off? Which areas of your life lack balance and support? Is there an important dream that is calling to be fulfilled? The dynamics of the 4 can help you to focus on answering these questions, and allow you to look at how you might continue working toward accomplishing your goals in a realistic, focused and balanced way.
Allow yourself to ask the questions above, but don't feel pressured into completely answering them yet. It may take time for your full answers to unfold. You may have many more questions of your own. You might also be feeling as if it's challenging to make certain changes in your life, but with patience and dedication you can begin taking small steps. You can “dream”, but you also need to keep your feet on the ground and live in the life that you have built.
Now is the time to evaluate how you can become more involved, active and engaged in your life, both inwardly and outwardly. Your evaluation can be best focused on activities and pursuits that allow you to feel that your life has meaning and value. Be aware of the practicalities and logistics, as you think about your life and the changes you might like to make. This may not be the time for jumping from A to Z, but rather finding a way to navigate from A to B, to C, and eventually to Z. Your desires are important, but so is finding a way to fulfill your daily needs and obligations.
At this time, you may feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders, so it may be necessary to find ways to delegate some of your responsibilities. It may be time to look for ways to seek for assistance from others. Finding outside help and support can allow you to focus on your central priorities. You may also need to find a way to bring better balance into your life by finding a better split between your outer and inner life. Developing a personal practice, such as journaling or meditation, can help you to develop a deeper inner life and help you to feel more grounded, and help to reduce any stress or burden that you may feel.
Good questions to contemplate today:
- What achievements have I been holding off?
- How can I be a guide or teacher to others?
- Where can I find support from others?
- What is my road map for the future?
- What brings peace into my life? (How can I have more of it?)
- Do I feel grounded and centered?
- How can I ask for the help that I need?
- What am I willing to do to develop an inner life?
Pema Chodron, author and American Buddhist nun, teaches that in order to truly have compassion for others, we have to first have developed compassion for ourselves. Once you're capable of having compassion for yourself, you're then better able to offer kindness and support to others. Once you can care for yourself, then you are prepared to support others.
Tonglen is a meditation practice that allows you to extend your support out to the world. It can be a powerfully moving practice, especially if you are already well versed in meditation. In this post, she discusses how to work with Tonglen. She writes, "The tonglen practice is a method for connecting with suffering —ours and that which is all around us— everywhere we go. It is a method for overcoming fear of suffering and for dissolving the tightness of our heart."
I don't believe that Tonglen is a process to take on lightly, as you are "taking on" the suffering of others with this practice. Every breath is an opportuntity to transform pain and suffering, but you're not storing this pain within yourself. Instead, you're visualizing the pain and suffering as being transformed in your heart. But, you're not taking ownership of it. With this meditation practice, you have the opportunity to breathe in pain, and breathe out freedom, joy and release.
Before you begin this practice, you may need to first find a strong support network for yourself. Once you feel like you're strong enough and well supported, you may wish to utilize this practice to help with the various nations, including Japan, Haiti and Libya, who are experiencing dramatic hardships at this time.
Before beginning this practice for another culture, or person, you should find a way to respect and honor the values and practices of these people and cultures, as they may have values and beliefs that are far different than your own. Before proceeding, you may wish to spend some time in quiet reflection to consider whether it feels "okay" to do this practice. Be patient and don't feel as if you "must" work with Tonglen. Perhaps, you might first need to develop greater compassion for yourself before you feel like it is appropriate to work with Tonglen for another. Use your discernment, judgement and wisdom. If healing within yourself needs to take place first, then allow whatever needs to be healed to be healed. Proceed at your own pace.