Hello wonderful Open Heart Project subscribers and other readers. I think about you all the time. I wonder how you’re doing and if you are finding a way to make your own personal connection to meditation practice. I hope so!
I even think about you when I’m on vacation, which is right now. I’m in beautiful coastal Maine in an amazing house on the ocean. It’s a lovely rainy day, cool enough for a fire in the fireplace and it feels so good to sit in this cozy spot, surrounded by sky and sea and earth and air. (I would attach a picture, but I’m working on my iPad which can’t make photos appear in these blog posts.)
Anyway, this week, The Open Heart Project is 6 months old. I’m thinking about what it could look like as it continues to grow. We’re up to around 3000 subscribers and this thrills me no end!! Thank you, thank you, thank you for your practice and focus and confusion and wonderful intelligence. Your questions and responses are so deep and spot-on. I definitely want to keep going and I hope you do too.
To commemorate the six month mark, I’d like to share with you the 3 steps that constitute the path of meditation. The more I practice and study, the more convinced I become that this is the whole enchilada.
1. Relax. I know, I know. Who has time to relax? Sure, you might be thinking, easy for you to say, Susan, up there in Martha Stewart land and whatnot. But by relax, I don’t mean take a vacation or calm down or stop freaking out. Here, “relax” means to open. It means to allow. It means for the time being, stop any and all efforts to manipulate your experience, emotions, or attitudes. Let yourself be exactly as you are. If you’re feeling happy, let yourself be happy. If you’re feeling cranky and bitter, let yourself be cranky and bitter. None of it means you have to do anything. If you’re happy, you can see this. Don’t try to hold on. If you’re miserable, you can see this. Don’t try to push it away. This is very relaxing. You can still freak out. Just notice what it feels like to freak out. As much as possible, let go of the object of your freak out and instead, just freak out. The pith instruction for relaxing is not to get away or dispatch all sorrows, but to dive into your experience moment by moment and relax with it, exactly as it arises, abides, and dissolves. In this way, you become a master surfer of your own inner environment. You see the wave begin to swell, you position yourself to ride it, climb up on your board, and off you go. In meditation practice, this is exactly what you are doing by allowing your thoughts to be as they are while you retain focus on breath. If you get distracted by a line of thought, you just let go and come back.
2. See where you are. When you relax, you see with sudden clarity exactly where you are. Rather than focusing on your thoughts about what should or shouldn’t be happening, you can see what is happening. In meditation practice, you cultivate this kind of seeing by allowing thoughts without censure.
3. Be where you are. When you are accurately attuned to what is happening, a kind of magic takes over. Not the woo-woo kind, but the kind where who you are and what you do resonates with the reality within and around you and thus radiates authenticity. You are no longer acting. With authenticity, you discover meaning. Your words and actions are magnetic. You are available to love and be loved as who you are. You are right here. Your heart is open. Thank you; we need you. Welcome to your life.
The fruition of meditation practice is just this.