128: Getting To The Root Of The Babbler

candlesThe babbler is the one who is ruining your meditations. The babbler is the one who brings up your to-do lists, memories and plans for the future and uses the emotions tied to them to distract you from concentration, regardless of how dedicated you are. It’s the fault of the babbler that so many people think they are no good at meditation. Last night I had a close encounter with the root of this voice and I want to talk about it. [Also, this is the first post I’ve worked on for more than a day during this challenge.] I’ve spent many hard months learning to call upon my babbler by many different names… “inner voice”…”ego”…”Little Veronica”… they all helped for a while, each led me to know some small part of where these natural distractions are coming from. Let’s take a deeper look.

Close your eyes (at the end of this paragraph, obviously) and imagine a lake. The surface is wavy and wind stirs up the water making it choppy and tumultuous, unable to reflect the images of fluffy clouds drifting across a blue sky. Now sink deeper into the water. As you move down towards the center of the earth, note the increasing stillness of the heavy, almost solid water. When you get to the bottom of the lake, the water will be motionless and you will feel one with the silent stillness. (Now’s the time to take three breaths and visualize this progression.)

Beneath the memories of missed opportunities and awkward moments that float across the surface of my mind-pond, last night I decided to sink down (as I do many nights) to find stillness; however, tonight was different because I realized that as I moved down, I was also somehow moving to the root of these distracting thoughts, and quickly I found myself at the bottom of the lake, facing my ego.

At the tranquil bottom of a pond that seemed so crazy and unsettled, I saw that this gentle creature, so often demonized by cries of, “Kill the ego! Lose it! Forget about it!” was actually just very humbly working in overdrive to keep my special self alive. Little Veronica was overwhelmed by fear and constantly asking what she could do to feel safer and more secure, constantly scanning the area for threats to her peace and joy. This searching and asking is the voice of the babbler and this voice is formed when we are small, bearing appropriate fear and love tendencies related to our childhood environments.

This fearful creature inside all of us lives alongside the peaceful and joyful internal presence we call the spirit. The act of meditation is training the babbler how to sit quietly and recognize that s/he needn’t be active all the time, that the work of surviving can be shared. It’s no coincidence that society has increased difficulty teaching our children the habit of stillness and that stress runs rampant in adults and despite increased scientific evidence of its benefits, so few people find they can sustain a meditation practice.

It’s my hope that with an awareness of where these thoughts come from we can all view their arising not as a failure to meditate, but a good sign, a clue that will lead us to the root of the babbling, the end of the treasure hunt, and along the path to stillness.

pond (1)

The mantra is the mirror which reflects your mental formations as you seek deeper into yourself.

Have you been to the bottom of the pond before? What’s it like at the root of your thoughts? How do you get there? Is the babbler your friend or your enemy or even, your frienemy? How do you feel when thoughts, dreams, emotions and feelings drift across the your surface?

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Day 105: Why I’m On Vacation

I started my 365 Day Creativity Challenge more than three months ago and the last post I wrote was all about how wonderfully transformative the whole experience has been. That was a week ago and you better believe these last seven days I’ve felt guilty about not posting. It’s a new kind of guilt, more of a nostalgic, “I actually enjoy doing this” kind of feeling. I didn’t expect to like the challenge I set for myself!

I anticipated a nice friendly blog post today about all the magical transformations I’ve undergone on the first half of my two week vacation in the States but as I’m writing this, a deep ache in my stomach has come up and I feel like it’s my intuition saying, Veronica, take a break for jeebus sake! And it’s not as though I have been neglecting my challenge, I have lots of creativity to post about.

Alright, I hear you, intuition.

cultivate and let go

Exhaustion is not a status symbol.

That is, after all, why I’m on vacation. Every time we do something – anything – out of the ordinary and take a step outside of the lines of our daily routines, we shake up the habitual energy that is going stale around us and we destroy the curtains we accidentally put up between ourselves and God/The Universe/Nature/Spirit.

A vacation doesn’t need to involve a hop across the Atlantic Ocean, vacations can happen every day for whatever amount of time we can spare. Make a thirty second vacation while you’re at your desk. Schedule a five minute vacation after you get home and before you ask your kids how their school day went; then before bed, schedule a fifteen minute luxury getaway to the beautiful realm of your imagination when you fly away into yourself on the wings of meditation.

If you’ve always wanted to meditate but haven’t found the right guides, Oprah and Deepak Chopra are doing a 21 day meditation challenge that is free and incredibly well put-together. I can’t recommend it enough and I hope you’ll join your energy with mine and thousands of other people involved in the daily meditations as we work together to collectively raise the vibrations of the planet. Yesterday was the first day and you’ve got access to that online here for four more days. Here’s a sample from the end of the recording that I transcribed because it’s so darn beautiful:

My security and peace are within.

To keep the essence of today’s meditation with you as you travel through the day, consider making time to check in with your experience of security.

Pause several times throughout the day and notice how you feel. Do you feel centered and grounded? When uncertain moments arise do you feel safe or unsafe, secure or insecure?

Just observe and be with your feelings, pay attention to the moments that you do feel safe and secure. This natural state is one that you can always access and come back to for peace and clarity. The flow of feeling safe is part of your essential being, there to support you and bring you home to yourself – your true self.

Rest Well,

The Sacred Here & Now

Day 94: What Is Enlightnement?

Where Heavens Meet

Where Heavens Meet by Rassouli (Click for Gallery)

Who cares? Really.

Personally, I say: think of your ideal self, the perfect image of health, wealth, and happiness, cut it in half, and that’s the threshold mystics call “enlightenment;” chances are you’re closer than you think.

The unattainable image teachers have painted for centuries of spiritual attainment was meant to keep seekers from idealizing or focusing on something outside of the daily experience and missing the present moment. While that is important, it is also important to recognize how discouraging that is in our modern era of instant gratification and ease. I think it is important to validate my friends and loved ones that they are succeeding as en-lightened beings (people who give off higher quantities of divine light) as often as I push them to try harder. There needs to be a balance.

As for the enlightened person’s moods, which are always the ordinary person’s undoing, they are said to be peaceful, secure, and blissful. Other emotions such as anger or fear may arise in response to the needs of the environment, but do not shake the deeper stillness. An analogy is that you are in a state a bit like the one a child enjoys when playing in the yard while aware that Mother is at home. The child does not think about the mother, yet her presence makes the child feel more secure, able to play wholeheartedly, and more likely to feel cheerful and see beauty in everything.

– Elaine Aron Ph.D.

This is a feeling we can all resonate with, even me, a child who never felt the archetypical “loving mother” sensation and it is comforting for a number of reasons. Firstly we know that, grounded in happiness and joy, we are free to move through the entire range of emotions embodied in the human experience and always return to a calm center. Secondly, fear becomes easily negated with a closely held happiness and third, our freedom allows us unlimited growth, unchecked by fear.

Enlightenment is a feeling we can all recognize and it is something we can all touch. Grounding ourselves in peaceful, secure and blissful emotions using an infinite number of tools – art, music, meditation, love-making, yoga, observing nature, etc. – is all it takes to move toward the deep stillness of a child who moves through life rooted in the present moment. Emotions are the gateway to enlightenment: understand that they come and go and realize that you have the freedom to choose your home base and the whole world will become as carefree and safe as your own back yard.

How do you define enlightenment? Are there different definitions or do you believe in a standard one? What do you think is the path to enlightenment and is it even attainable? Let’s start a conversation.