I have found that when you need meditation the most it is the hardest time to practice. Those times when you feel frustrated, stuck, down, off balance, irritated, displaced, angry or sad. It is easy to meditate when life is on the up swing. When you’ve got a spring in your step, feeling balanced, well and healthy, but when your life has taken a downturn and you are feeling generally out of sorts, it can be difficult to sit, even for a minute or two. What to do during these times?
I once listened to a podcast with Tara Brach and she talked about working with people who were extremely challenged when it came to being able to sit and meditate. People who, for a myriad of reasons find it nigh on impossible to be present. She talked about ‘staying’. The moment when you sit and meditate but want to get up again or leave the present moment. Silently repeating ‘stay’ in each moment can help. Even if you are sitting in the present moment for just a minute or two, it is better than not sitting at all.
The key is being present, no matter what you’re feelings. Accepting them in each moment and being present with them, not forcing them away or inviting them in, simply noticing in each moment what you are feeling within your body. Practising kindness toward yourself (which again during these moments can be incredibly difficult) will also help.
‘The wound is the place where the light enters you.’ – Rumi
Tara Brach has a Learning to Stay meditation that I particularly enjoyed. It is only a few minutes long. During this, notice how you feel when you rest your hand on your heart. Notice how your feelings soften toward yourself and how that feels. You might want to move your hand away, but ‘stay’ with it.
Visit the guided ‘Learning to Stay’ meditation on Tara Brach’s website
[This image was taken walking on the Conwy Suspension Bridge, once the gateway to Conwy, and the Toll-Keeper’s House, heading into Conwy Castle, Wales.]