One of the biggest reasons a person puts off starting a meditation practice is over the fear of what one might actually uncover. I’m not going to lie, sometimes it can be a bit challenging. Just imagine all the crap that you’ve loaded on top of that pure sense of uninterrupted creativity you once experienced as a child. As a great Indian guru once said, “go back the way you came.”
Sally Kempton, in her latest Patheos post, discusses the topic of joy. Not the joy that comes when you get a brand new car or a new relationship, although, in the end, those two things might prove painful enough for you to go on the search for this type of joy! Rather, the joy that exists within a person and all around that is not dependent upon circumstance or material pleasures. Meditation is a tool that helps a person to access it.
Close your eyes and remember a time when you felt really happy. Then take yourself into the moment. See if you can get a feeling-sense of yourself in the situation. Perhaps you do this visually—by remembering where you were, what you wore, who was present. Perhaps you do it by invoking the feeling—asking yourself “What did that happiness feel like?” and then waiting until the feeling-sense begins to make itself present in your body. Stick with it until you actually feel the happiness, even if it’s in a very mild form.
Then remove the memory of the scene or situation, and just feel the feeling. Find the place in your body where the feeling is centered. Then expand the feeling until it fills your body. If you’re very visual, it might help if you give the feeling a color—a warm color, like gold, or pink. Or you might work with the breath, breathing into the feeling and letting it expand on the exhalation.
Sit with the feeling of happiness. See if you can hold it. See if, for this moment, you can let that feeling of happiness become your primary feeling. Remember: this is a glimpse, however small, of your true reality.
Read more from Kempton on how to use meditation to experience inherent joy here.