Meditation is learned…
“When we meditate, we inject far-reaching and long-lasting benefits into our lives: We lower our stress levels, we get to know our pain, we connect better, we improve our focus, and we’re kinder to ourselves. Let us walk you through the basics in our new mindful guide on how to meditate.”
It took me decades to get the practices and discipline of truly learning how to meditate. I believe my experience with meditation started as a surfer long ago, but my mind back then didn’t connect it to something practiced or learned.
Zen was a thing the Beatles did when they were stoned and writing music. It seemed cool to me, but work, school and raising a family came first, I thought back then.
There were many strenuous physical activities along the way, including surfing, and playing other sports, hiking and most other things to keep my mind at a safe distance from pain.
All of the sweat equity would be considered meditation today, but not in practice. To meditate, one must learn to live in the moment, something that has come very late in my life.
Learning to live in the moment…
For me, living in the moment has never been easy, not something I could connect with until these later years. Too much trauma in life can cause a state of mind that races, on alert for danger at every corner.
I have lived mostly a life of fight/flight 24/7, scary to be sure. It’s nearly impossible to live in the moment when feeling unsafe and afraid is the norm. Life for a trauma survivor is torture. It’s like being trapped, fighting for a safe harbor that comes and goes very quickly.
When love and kindness came my way, even then it was hard, very hard to break away from my Fox hole existence. Climbing out of the Fox hole seemed impossible, so fighting another day for survival was the only way for too long. Never give up or give in, for living another day to fight again offers hope for a better day.
It seems now, as love not hate becomes a safe harbor, living in the moment becomes possible. Trauma survivors can spend their entire life searching for love, elusive love, acceptance of love.
Love is now present in my life, I believe. I can now live in the moment as a work in progress. Love is winning. Hate is expelled.
Finding my way…
Finding my soul, then losing my soul, then finding my soul again is a journey of healing, only you can navigate, no one else. Only God can teach the willing. Then, only then, one can stop, look and listen to a starving heart ‘n soul. Only you can do this.
Finding a willing heart and soul, in my mind, has taken decades of searching and finding truth, a truth lost to trauma as a child and while serving in the U.S. Navy. Knowing truth is the beginning of a lasting peace of mind where love and forgiveness are no longer elusive.
Teaching my mind…
How can you “teach” your mind to love not to fear? Stop, look, and listen is what we were taught at the crosswalk going to school. Wow! Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But it’s hard, very hard when you don’t know how to stop.
Living in the moment is elusive too, if one dashes across the street without regard to safety. Seems to me, dodging cars on the freeways without a stop, look, and listen rule, can kill you.
It’s only by the grace of God I’m still here to keep trying to love myself and live in the moment. And, with the help and unconditional love of my wife of almost 40 years, I’m finding my way.
Practicing “Stop, Look, & Listen”
Whenever I do anything now, my mind is learning to first, “stop, look, and listen.” Before getting out of bed each day I say to myself, often out loud, “stop, look and listen.
Try this every time there is a crosswalk to navigate. Remember too, that there’s always a person you love holding your hand to help your soul while crossing a street safely.
Remember, practice this rule, “stop, look, and listen.” Trust your heart and soul with God’s love. You too can learn to love yourself and to live in the moment, if there is a willingness to accept love and kindness in your heart.