Difficult times aren’t going away anytime soon.
The Buddha told us this, and in truth, we all know it.
Our human bodies can do amazing things and are more resilient than we can even imagine. That said: sickness, aging, death, broken-heartedness, and disappointment are mainstays of the human experience whether we like it or not. This is why it is necessary to develop compassion techniques to work with our own minds, hearts, and energy to provide ourselves with a quality human experience.
When we endlessly feel pain and trauma in our lives, our energetic and physical systems get worn down.
Constant shock, hurt, and disappointment create wiring in our systems, telling us the world is not a safe place. Unless we purposely rewire our thought patterns, responses, and reactions in the direction of feeling safe, we quickly find ourselves in a limiting cage of our own making.
We can’t just sit back and let our systems respond to the world however they want to. If we become victims of our responses, we find our pain and trauma driving the show. We experience more pain and discomfort than necessary.
The most self-loving choice we can make on our human journey is to get intentional with our self-talk and energetic alignment to allow our wisest self to decide how to respond—not our fight, flight, or freeze reactions.
The following three-step meditation can be used in moments when difficulty is occurring, or as a daily meditation practice to heal past trauma and cope with present difficulties.
Step #1: Change Your Physiological Alignment.
How we hold our body sends a strong message to our system about whether we are safe or not. So the first step of this meditation is to physically drop the shoulders. Incrementally encourage your shoulders to lower. Breathe into the shoulders and tell them to slide lower and lower. It is great to keep doing this until you feel as little strain or stress in the shoulders as possible.
Then, when the shoulders have come down as low as they will go (with no pushing, just gentle encouragement), move your attention to the breath; and slow it as much as possible. When we get stressed, we start to breathe quickly with short, shallow breaths. This sends the body the message that we aren’t safe. We can rewire this by intentionally taking long, deep breaths. This switch tells the body everything is safe and fine.
Step #2. Repeat “I am safe,” to the root chakra.
Once the shoulders are down and the breath is slow, start visualizing your root chakra as a ball of red light between the legs just below the pelvis. Say the words: “I am safe” in your mind. Send the words into the center of the red ball of light. Just stay with the light and watch it move and shift as it integrates the words. “I am safe.” Integrate this affirmation into the root chakra until it feels true, or as many times as you like.
Step #3. Repeat “I love myself, I accept myself, I forgive myself,” to the heart chakra.
When you feel like the reintegration of the “I am safe” belief in the root chakra is done, move your attention to the heart chakra. See your heart center as a broad green light, spreading past the edges of your chest. Feel the light getting wide and strong, and then say the following words in your mind: “I love myself, I accept myself, I forgive myself,” sending these words into the green light in the heart.
This step is extremely important because it’s mostly in difficult times when we hurt ourselves with negative self-talk. We feel like we have failed and are quick to jump to self-blame. This is damaging to our self-esteem and needs to be intentionally healed. We do this by telling our own heart: “I love myself, I accept myself, I forgive myself.”
This is a powerful meditation for difficult times and will bring changes to your system if practiced continually. You might feel more tired, more energized, like crying, or like celebrating. Any result is acceptable, because the intention is to feel safe in the world and feel loving, accepting, and forgiving toward yourself. Any result you feel on the physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual level guides you in those directions.
We all go through difficult times; this is part of the human journey. But by wiring a sense of safety and self-love into our systems in the midst of challenge, we can bring benefit and love to our own journey.
For further assistance with this guided three-step meditation for difficult times you can listen to a recording here.
Author: Ruth Lera
Image: Claire Evans/Flickr
Editor: Danielle Beutell
Supervising Editor 2: Catherine Monkman