Firetrail at Midnight on Mt. Tamapais by J.L. Stanley
Certain places I visit share the same frequency and feel.
It can happen in crowded cities, deserted beaches, or somewhere in suburbia. There don’t need to be dream catchers and wind chimes tinkling in the wind for me to get a feeling that I’ve tapped into a resonance I’ve felt somewhere before.
A couple of years ago, my brother and I were walking down a wooded lane in Mill Valley, California. It was early morning, and the sun was shining through the Redwoods. The road ahead of us that was leading up to the foot of Mount Tamalpais was mottled with patches of light breaking through the leafy canopy. We stopped for a few minutes and enjoyed the silence. As we were standing in the middle of the road, my brother remarked that the feel of the place reminded him of the time he’d spent in Cornwall in South West England.
We started walking again, and the next road we saw was named Cornwall Road. Someone had come to this place before us and tuned in to the same frequency.
Next time you get that feeling that everything feels familiar, it’s worth pausing for a minute and listening. You’ll get to travel around the world without getting on a plane.
Think about all the political anger and outrage that we direct at a politician. What if we focused all that energy on electing someone better.
Imagine if all the @replies, retweets, shares and Facebook comments about the faux outrage of the day were redirected to amplifying good works and inspiring leaders.
Trolls feed off outrage. Their battery packs are recharged with anger and vitriol. Imagine these monsters standing on the top of a mountain in the middle of raging storm and holding a lightning conductor. The more lightning strikes they get hit with, the more powerful they become.
Starve these the trolls, and they curl up and shrink. They can stand on top of the mountain all day on a beautiful sunny day and won’t get one lightning strike. Next time you feel anger boiling up inside of you. Don’t engage. Redirect that energy into something constructive. You’ll starve the nasty beasts and build something great.
If you saw the Netflix show Stranger Things, then you’ll get my next analogy about the Void. The Void appears as a vast infinite expanse of black nothing abyss. It is entirely empty and black, except for the character Eleven herself and whatever or whoever she is trying to locate. Next time you meditate, close your eyes and imagine entering the Void within your mind. It’s entirely still and dark. Thoughts will appear in the distance. Observe then and then keep moving. If you get a freaked out, then open your eyes and start again.
This is a refuge inside of your mind, just for you. Your thoughts will still appear, but this isn’t their home, so let go as smoothly as they arrived.
Is there something or someone on your mind, something in the past or a problem you are working through that’s making you anxious? The following exercise won’t answer any specific questions you have or offer up a solution, but it will help you.
Take ten deep breaths through your nose and imagine a field. See it bathed in the late afternoon sun, or maybe it’s early morning, and you can feel the dew under your feet as the sun starts to warm up the ground. Feel the breeze on your face and take note of the different smells.
Now take the problem or memory that’s on your mind and release it into the field. It’s now standing in front of you. Sometimes it’s a person, an event or both. Let the sun shine on it and release it from your mind. Don’t try to solve the problem and don’t intellectualize it. It’s free to go. Give it up to the sun and the warmth of the field. If the person you’ve released wants to come back to you, then gently tell them they are free to go with your blessing and love.
That’s it. It’s an exercise in release and surrendering whatever you are holding onto the field and leaving it there.
When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about. Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right-doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there – Rumi
Side note: It’s incredible how many people imagine a green field. It’s a little uncanny and cool.
Sit in lotus pose or if it’s more comfortable then kneel on the floor. Relax your body from head to toe, and slowly start belly breathing. Inhale and exhale through your nose.
Imagine a small fire at the base of your belly. Every inhale of fresh oxygen fuels the flames. The exhale relaxes your tummy and lets the light expand. Inhaled fuel the fire and exhales loosen up the body. Grow the fire by inhaling until changes from yellow to orange to blue. The flame is so big now that it needs more space. Your exhales are turn blue as the heat escapes your body and fight more space around you. Keep feeding the fires and feeling you tummy becomes warmer and looser. Wind it down slowly with slower, and longer inhale. Expel the blue flame with your last exhalation. Sit and feel the warm afterglow permeate through your body.
People tend to slump over when they meditate. The head drops and shoulders slump. This posture closes the chest and throat in a moment where you want maximum airflow.
Here’s a quick tip:
Halfway through the session take a moment to check in with your posture and body position. After the check-in, if you are feeling constricted then imagine a soft claw coming down from the ceiling. It’s the same kind of claw that you see in the arcade machine that grabs toys, but the grip is so delicate that the toys end up falling.
Imagine the claw slowly grabs your head and starts lifting you up. Your neck extends, your chest opens up, and your spine straightens. Just like in the arcade the claw slips off your head and retracts away. Your posture is now open, upright and relaxed.