As you sit in meditation you hear a car alarm, kids playing outside, your dog knocked something over in the kitchen. Far from the peaceful meditation you were hoping for and maybe needing after a long day at work. Life doesn’t always make it easy to find that inner peace or develop a spiritual practice. It often does just the opposite. And that’s kind of the point; to bring that calm observer into your everyday life, but it can be extremely challenging, even for the most seasoned meditator. And truly some days, you just need the peace. Some days it's not about being spiritual and rising above. Some days, it’s about giving back to yourself and finding inner peace so the world doesn’t break you.
In these moments, when we need meditation or a spiritual practice just for our own well being, returning home becomes crucial. Where is home? Within. This is a concept that is relatively common but can be difficult to understand and to actually practice. What does it actually mean to return home to the self? To the island of self? The clue is in the word island. In order to return home to the island of self, we need to remove the external cues. Everything is within us and returning home is remembering and practicing that. There is nothing external you need to do, there is nothing external you need to accomplish, there is nothing external you need to be. You just need to be within yourself, on your own personal island. So that’s exactly what we’re going to do today.
This is going to be somewhat of a visualization exercise; however, if you are not a visualizer, that’s okay. Even without that visualization piece, we are all able to have a knowing or sense of what the vision is; meaning, you can internally feel what it would be like if you were actually visualizing the scene.
Take a deep breath in, exhale through your mouth, and relax your shoulders. Take another deep breath in, and as you exhale through your mouth, relax the muscles around your eyes and mouth. Take one more deep breath in, and as you exhale through your mouth, relax your whole body, allowing it to sink into a comfortable position. (It’s okay if this takes you more than three breaths. The point is to find physical relaxation)
Breathe normally and begin to observe the rise and fall of your chest and belly.
Imagine you are standing on an empty beach, on an island with no one else there. It’s your personal island that you come to whenever you need an escape. As you stand on the beach, begin to notice the tide rising and falling, just like your chest. As you inhale, the tide pulls back and recedes into the ocean. As you exhale the tide comes forward as if your breath is pushing it towards you. Because, you are the observer standing on the beach, AND the entire ocean, at the same time. Everything here is you. Continue breathing normally and simply watch the tide rising and falling with your breath. It rises, and it falls, no matter what is going on around you. You are in control of the tide. In and out. Rising and falling.
Try to maintain this breathing in sync with the tide for a count of ten. As you come to a close, bow in honor of yourself; giving thanks to yourself for keeping your world moving.