Contributor: Mollie Player. For my book The Power of Acceptance, I end with an interview I title “The Beginner.” It’s a self-interview on meditation as follows.
What is the best thing about meditation for you?
What I love—what keeps me going—is the feeling. The feeling of peace and well-being. It happens as soon as I close my eyes—suddenly, I just know I’m okay. If I’m quiet, I can feel tingling, too, particularly in my palms and my arms.
And that’s it. That is why I meditate. And to rewire my brain to become a happier, more positive person. And to connect with my inner being. And to disidentify with the mind.
I should also say that I have come to agree with Subhan that in spite of my great appreciation for it, this “feeling the feeling of feeling good” meditative state is not all that it could be. I would love to experience the moments of true disidentification with the mind that he and others describe, and the feeling of transcendence that goes with it. This, to me, would be a meditative state of a higher order—really, a taste of enlightenment.
What is the hardest thing about meditation for you?
The hardest thing by far is trusting that the time is not wasted. Also, I miss being able to meditate for longer stretches like I did when I had only one kid.
Are you good at meditation?
I suck at meditation, actually. My mind wanders a lot, and part of me still thinks I’m not doing it right. But I’m really good at controlling my anger, at forgiving and being patient. At this point in my life those things are more important to me than any so-called spiritual practice. I love my husband completely. I love my kids completely, and my other family and friends. I accept them exactly as they are. And I love myself, too. The meditation will come. It takes time.
Describe your meditation practice.
My current meditation practice starts with a prayer—the same one every day—in which I repeat a handful of simple words that to me feel highly creative, energetic, and meaningful. I acknowledge that this prayer was inspired partly by Anne Lamott’s book, Help, Thanks, Wow as well as by Joe Vitale’s Zero Limits. It is this:
Angels, guides, God and all there is,
Thank you. Thank you.
I repeat each of these stanzas as many times as feels good.
Stanza One is more a prayer than a meditation. In it, I ask the Universe to help me successfully handle whatever life circumstances I’m currently experiencing. It’s my way of getting the stuff of life off my mind so I have a better chance of entering the meditative state.
Stanza Two is the most important. It is my acceptance prayer. With “notice” I remind myself to observe my thoughts all day, particularly the neurotic ones, thus separating myself from them a step or two. With “accept” I remember to truly and fully embrace whatever comes my way that day—that whatever is, is perfect.
Stanza Three takes acceptance a step further, reminding me to surrender my will to the will of the Universe totally. I choose to let go of the need to control, to dictate each moment, and instead to “flow” with the current of life. When appropriate, I ask for guidance from my higher self regarding various decisions and actions.
Stanzas Four, Five and Six are my payoff stanzas, the ones I look forward to after the work of the first three is done. With them, I move away from asking and reminding and towards the state of love and meditation. It is no longer necessary for me to do anything or give anything; with these words, I am simply being.
With “love” and “give” I imagine love energy moving around and through me. I send this energy to anyone nearby or in my thoughts. Similarly, “body” and “energy” remind me of the energy field of my body, which I visualize radiating from my higher self to the world. “Thank you” is a moment of pure gratitude for All That Is—even the things I don’t like so much. It is a thank you for hardships, for lessons, for growth, as well as for my many blessings. Finally, I say “life,” my favorite word for God, to remember the All that surrounds me every day.
After this prayer, which I usually say during exercise, I do a short sitting meditation—five to fifteen minutes, maybe more. Sometimes I simply watch my thoughts, as Subhan taught me. No judgment, no failure, no perfection, no regrets. I just sit, “seeing what my mind is up to,” as Anthony once perfectly put it, noticing what comes up.
Other times, I do an energy or mantra meditation.
I love my mantras. I love my energy technique, and hey, I learned it from Eckhart Tolle, the best. But these days no matter which technique I use, I emphasize separating myself from my mind. Feeling good is no longer my goal for my fifteen minutes or so on the floor. Becoming a little better at watching my thoughts, retraining my brain to automatically understand that my mind is not me—that is my only real goal. The idea is that the more I do this, the easier it will become.
Practicing, really, is my goal. And even that, I must hold lightly.
My practice is enhanced greatly by activities like exercise, reading and friendship that help me stay mentally and physically healthy.
Read the rest of this series at Spiritual Practice Success Stories.