reprinted from the Huffington Post
LEARNING TO TRUST YOURSELF THROUGH MEDITATION
COLTRANE on perfect sit/stay – taken by Jeremiah McNulty
It’s easy to doubt ourselves, our choices, our lives, our everything. We can find ourselves second-guessing every choice, all along the way. We wonder whether the choices we made in the past were right, and worry about the choices we will make in the future!
We don’t know how to trust ourselves because we don’t know how to trust our inner Self — with a capital S. This inner Self represents a whole new world of awareness. When you begin to listen to your inner Self, the world cracks open with new insights and understandings.
In my book, Opening to Meditation, there is a line that says this: “If there is a devil, it is doubt.” This doubt is a result of overthinking and hyper-analysis. We become embattled with the ego. This can create a constant state of tension. We become restless inside. We can’t relax. We can get depressed, or anxious, over-stimulated and stressed out. And then, we wonder, “Why I can’t sleep at night?”
All the questions of life come up to be reviewed — but in a state of fear and doubt. If we are single we may wonder, “Will he ever come?” And, if we are in a relationship we may ask, “Is he really right for me?” Or similarly, when we can’t get a job, “Will I ever get a job?” or, if we’ve got one, “I bet there is a better one out there.” These are just a couple of examples of thousands that I could offer — but they are all examples of doubt.
And, all of this is just the play of the ego. The ego is a perpetual worrying machine. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. The mind will generate fear after fear after fear. When one is allayed, another one pops up. It is the nature of the beast.
But it can be trained. And that is where meditation comes in. Meditation teaches the mind to become still, to live in the moment rather than the past or the future. It teaches us to connect with our higher selves, our true selves, our sacred selves. In this process, the mind learns to become reflective and listening. We become calm and steady. We start to know.
When the mind has no bounds it is like an untrained dog. The mind will chase after every ball that comes by. It will be sitting quietly in one moment, when suddenly, “Squirrel!” and off it goes, running madly after some random thought. And that’s the problem; it chases every… single… thought. An untrained mind doesn’t know how to prioritize well. It is indiscriminate and fearful, or boasting and trying to prove itself. To the untrained mind, every thought is worth chasing.
In theory, we know everything, we think everything — but — all at the same time!But when we meditate, we discover we have a very refined, highly calibrated, inner psychic barometer within us that teaches us subtlety and discrimination, discipline and awareness.
When we meditate, we are teaching our minds to become observers rather than reactors. We teach the mind to “sit” and “stay.” Thoughts of the ego are always fear-based. The ego chases every squirrel, and pretty much every ball that goes by too. So when we teach our minds to sit and stay, to listen and be present, we immediately become calmer and clearer. Suddenly our lives become simpler because we are not over-complicating them with every single thought we think. We simply begin to know.
One of my favorite quotes is, “Don’t believe everything you think.” This is sage advice. Just because you think something doesn’t mean it’s true, or that it’s right for you. We can think many things at the same time — and do! When we meditate we are spiritually prioritizing: THIS ball — not all those others.
You can let them all go by,
In the end, what it’s really about is application, application, application. Over time we build a muscle of awareness. We learn to be conscious and present about every subject of our lives. We begin to learn to trust ourselves.
From a spiritual perspective there is a perfect time for everything. We can stay busy and distracted by chasing after every squirrel, or we can wait for right timing. Squirrel timing will take you on a wild goose chase. Spiritual timing is perfect timing.
This does not mean being passive and doing nothing. It means responding to what’s at hand because you are present to what is happening. It means living your life with passion and gusto, curiosity and enthusiasm. It means bringing your whole self to every moment and to every exchange. When you establish a meditation practice, you will learn that you can trust life, that you can trust love, and most importantly, you can trust yourself.
Diana Lang is a spiritual teacher and author of OPENING TO MEDITATION –www.DianaLang.com