November 23, 2012

Love, Surrender, Peace, Forgiveness: Meditation Training in Emotional Well-Being.

About three years ago I had a major falling out with some friends I loved a great deal.

We had been close for eight years, and had come to an impasse where feelings were hurt, communication had broken down, misunderstanding, projection and built up resentments had hijacked what was once considered an almost familial bond.

It broke my heart. My mind was racing, trying desperately to find solutions, to be heard, to recover that sense of love and closeness that used to be consistent and ever present between us. It turned out not to be possible.

With a yoga retreat coming up, I started to be concerned that I would get sick from all the stress and be miserable while leading my own retreat; unable to be of service to my community, and perhaps worse, to enact effective self-care.

As a long time meditator, I would work with the Lovingkindness meditation phrases (which I will share in the next installment) and this naturally turned into the meditation I will share now.

As I observed my racing mind and my raw emotional state, I noticed a cycle, a pattern of feeling cut off from love, out of control, unable to find peace, and angry with my friends and myself for the situation we were in.

I found that if I focused in the following way, my mind would slow down, the emotional distress would diminish and eventually sleep would come: On the inhale, taking in the love we had experienced together, and then surrendering to not being able to control the current situation on an exhale, and then reminding myself that there was peace and safety in that moment and taking it in on the next inhale, and then offering forgiveness, first to them and then myself on the next exhale.

This meditation helped me to move on from a painful situation, allowed me to let go, sleep, manage my stress and maintain my immune system. The retreat went great, and the healing continued, with greater acceptance and insight over time.

I ended up using it in my teaching, often in savasana resting pose at the end of class in town and on retreats in the early morning meditations. Here it is for you now. I hope it is beneficial.

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