How many times have you chewed the same provocative story in, through, and around your mind to the point of near-exhaustion? A simple comment from a friend over lunch, a text alert from your bank with a surprising look at your balance, a morning where every word out of your mouth felt like pointless noise. Or that visit with a friend in pain that left you depressed and unable to shake it from your own body days later.
How many conversations have you ended up rehashing with your friends and co-workers only to lather yourself into even more of an upset? Sometimes talking it out just doesn’t help, but makes things seem worse.
There’s a cure. You don’t need a doctor’s prescription. The more you use it, the stronger it gets. It gives you more energy than it takes.
It’s jaw dropping for me to consider how many people I’ve met, that I’d view as deeply engaged in tangible spiritual evolution, who don’t actually have a consistent sitting practice. Yet not so startling when I look at my own spotty past with the practice.
After a couple decades of spiritual practice, living in ashrams, and going to workshops, it’s only been in the last 18 months that I’ve had a daily, deepening formal meditation practice (formal in the sense of having a process for approaching, entering, and deepening the practice – no special attire required).
Some days I want to stand on my roof and shout out to the world the inspiration that would catalyze every man, woman, and child to sit and go deep. Almost hourly this week, I’m humbled by what the practice brings to every aspect of my life.
One of the most valuable fruits of gardening my meditation practice continues to be revealed in my digestion. I have tended to be someone who deals with emotions, others, and mine in and through my gut. It directly impacts my digestion when I’m not at peace. I know; I’m the only one.
Oh! You too? Read on…
Believe it or not, the seeming problems we have aren’t on the outside in the circumstances of life. The problems are how you and I actually interpret the circumstances.
For example, if I don’t have enough money to pay the bills sitting on my desk and I think I may be late getting them handled, that can drive up anxiety, right? I’d actually suggest that it’s not the bills that are pushing up the anxiety, but all the potentially threatening scenarios my mind may spit up like being evicted, homeless, penniless, hungry, tired, and alone. So far, I haven’t missed a meal, have always had a place to sleep, clothes on my back, and have been graced with people who love me.
The root of the anxiety isn’t the circumstances, but the ingrained tendency to worry. As long as I carry a tendency to worry, I will attract circumstances that stimulate the fear of something awful on its way to me and tie my insides up in knots.
This is where meditation comes in. The space of deep meditation is where you and I are closer to the primal life force, the eternal, as it were. I’m pointing to the living, pulsing, conscious, infinitely creative Source of all of life. It lives within you. Right now. Regardless of what your bank balances report, what your ex-boyfriend thinks about you, or what you’ve eaten today. Irrespective of your upbringing, your career path, or how educated you think you are or are not, this same Source lives within you. Meditation can lead your awareness right into experiencing this directly.
Contact with this spacious, living presence within smoothes out the wrinkles my mind and ego conspire to craft each day. It literally burns up the seeds of worry that fuel anxiety and attract dramatic circumstances into my life to keep me on the hamster wheel of worry.
Once you learn how to access this inner freedom, you won’t want to miss a day of diving into it. Over time, you can learn to access it in the middle of your life’s circumstances and literally watch the very same circumstances transform into something practically unbelievable and amazing.
Scott Schwenk, a Los Angeles based spiritual teacher, healer, writer and business consultant, is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post and a featured teacher at We Care Spa in Desert Hot Springs, CA. For more information, visit www.scottschwenk.com.