My journey back to spirituality began just after finishing college. I found myself feeling physically unhealthy and unhappy at work. I began diving into books and videos about yoga, tai chi, chi gong and other wellness practices. I soon decided a career change was needed and embarked on my 200 hour yoga teacher training.
I'd grown up in a non-religious, non-spiritual household so this training was my first experience of "God" being taught. Two takeaways, of many, from that training were, "Like it or not, yoga is about God so get comfortable with that." and when you close your eyes in meditation, "Shapes and colors or images may appear in your minds eye...don't be attached, let them go."
Looking back, I may have embraced that second one a little too much. Or more so than embraced, I created a false belief. Rather than simply remain unattached, I began to believe anything you see during meditation is unimportant and meaningless. I also found it REALLY hard to maintain an ongoing meditation practice. My monkey mind would monkey me right off the meditation cushion. I couldn't be tamed.
Still I had an ongoing desire to have meditation in my life. To feel more grounded and less bouncing off the walls of life. I tried many different techniques for meditation and couldn't fully embrace the practice. It got in the way of my life. Then one day when meeting with another therapist of the healing arts I explained a bit of my frustration with not being able to stick with my most recent meditation practice. I explained, "The times when I feel like I have the opportunity and time to do meditation, for example, during my morning commute when I seated on the gondola or on the boat across the lake, aren't conducive because I'm not supposed to be moving." His response, "Says who?!" I explained the courses I'd been taking and the teachers had given explicit directions that the meditations were not be done while moving. He retorted, "Why?! Just because somebody figured out one way to do it, doesn't mean it's the only way!" This response resonated with me so hard, so deep, so great that it's become a bit of a personal mantra.
As I've traveled further and further along my #spiritualjourney I've realized a regular meditation practice is right there for everyone but you've gotta make it your own. You've gotta put your own personal stamp on it. Make it meaningful to you and it won't get in the way of your life, it will become your way of life.
Dr. Joe Dispenza uses #kaleidoscopetherapy in his advanced meditation workshops to help his clients slide into a calm enough state that their brain waves become more coherent and induces alpha and theta trance-like states. Interesting. I thought, why not? I began watch 5 minutes of kaleidoscope videos online in the mornings and something cool began to happen. When I want to connect now (aka meditate), eyes open or closed, I can see color patterns and these color patterns allow a knowing that I'm connected. It's such a wholesome feeling inside me that I want to connect all the time. It also sparked a fascination inside me about kaleidoscopes and how they can be used for healing trauma. When viewing kaleidoscope images, both sides of your brain are stimulated. I'm intrigued. When I returned to Dr. Dispenza's book on the chapter about the use of kaleidoscopes expecting his scientific explanation about how kaleidoscopes effect the brain, I surprised to find his reason was simply because he sees geometric shapes and patterns, similar to that of a kaleidoscope, anytime he has a profound experience.
Ding, ding...the same shapes and patterns I now see. The same shapes and patterns that I now embrace as mystical rather than writing off as unimportant. Was I hoping for a more detailed answer about how linking both sides of the brain helps to heal trauma and therefore the kaleidoscope can be used as a substitute for EMDR (Eye Movement Down Regulation) Therapy? Honestly, yes. But even without such detail, I do believe he's onto something. And maybe we don't have all the science yet to prove the benefits but one thing I know: It worked for me. Meditation has become a joyful awesome part of my life rather than an impossible chore. Advice for anyone wanting to make meditation a part of their everyday life:
1. Forget any rules about meditation you've learned or created for yourself. There are no rules.
2. Create a call sign for the higher. This is a whole 'nother blog post which I will get to shortly. In the meantime, it needs to be something unweighted that makes you smile at the thought. A good way into this practice is talking to your angels. A great book for getting comfortable with this is, "Hiring the Heavens" by Jean Slatter.
3. Stop trying to schedule a time to meditate and instead infuse your life with moments of connection. Asking for protection when driving in your car is a great way to connect. Close your eyes and take a deep breath anytime you find yourself "waiting". When you see colors, shapes, patterns in your mind's eye, smile at them. You can allow them to have meaning without being attached, all the while cultivating feelings of appreciation and gratitude.
4. Try watching kaleidoscope videos for a few minutes every morning or buy yourself a teleidoscope (mine is on order!), what is a teleidoscope? "A teleidoscope is a kind of kaleidoscope, with a lens and an open view, so it can be used to form kaleidoscopic patterns from objects outside the instrument, rather than from items installed as part of it." - Wikipedia
5. Whenever you connect with the higher, make an effort to conjure up the feelings of elevated emotions. Feel the feelings associated with joy, happiness, gratitude and empowerment.
Start with these five easy-steps and you are well on your way to a great connection with spirit. I think the most important thing to remember when wanting to develop a #meditationpractice is that it's about you. It's not about how Sarah does it or how your yoga teacher told you to do it, it's about how you want to feel. For me personally, I want to feel that divine support is there for me whenever and where ever I need it. I have angel staff meetings with my divine team while riding my bike to work. When other people are around I keep the angel banter silent. When I'm alone, I talk unapologetically out loud. It feels good, give it a try!