We are a few weeks into the New Year, and maybe for many of us, the resolutions are already a distant memory. And if you are not like most of us, rock on! Keep going!
I love this time of year when collectively we are so geared up and committed to change. But what if I told you there is nothing to fix, and that you are already perfect? What if you could let go of the notion that something inside of you is broken?
The Buddhist perspective says that we are all born from a true and loving nature, and nothing needs improvement. Instead, we can focus on peeling away the layers of unworthiness and self-deprecation to reveal the truth of who we really are–and put our attention there.
Rather than setting yourself up for failure as January turns into February, can you instead commit to honoring yourself daily? Can you mend the relationship you have to your soul? When you restore this connection, and allow the healing process to begin, bit by bit, you will be shown your true nature.
The poet Rumi says, “The wound is the place where the light enters you.” Until you heal the dark corners of your being, you will continue to live your life as if you are broken. From personal experience, I can testify that when we ignore peeling back the layers and exposing our wounds, hurts, and disappointments, we begin to feel like a dog chasing its tail. Going round and round thinking we’ve got a hold on things, when in reality we end up exactly where we started. It begins to feel a bit like insanity.
So I urge you to slow down the pace of your life. To become more present with your thoughts and feelings, and know that change is never easy. To change your thoughts when they have been played over in your mind a thousand times is not easy. To change how you see yourself when you look in a mirror means a shift in perspective. To transform from a feeling of nothingness to one of abundance involves a change in your self-esteem and self-worth.
Here are three ways to initiate change, and to connect with your true nature.
Remember: You are not broken.
1. Commit to a meditation practice. Two of the most common things I hear from clients and students is that they don’t have time, and that they are not doing it right– hence they abandon the practice. I want to tell you that yes, you have the time, and just by showing up, you are doing it right. When I work with beginners I advise they start with as little as one minute, at most five to eight minutes a day. Science has proven that it takes about 5-6 minutes for our brains to begin changing during meditation, so if you can get past that point, the benefits will be greater.
I advise meditating first thing in the morning before your day takes over. After your alarm goes off or before heading out to work, find a comfortable place to sit or lie down, close your eyes, and just breathe. For beginners and advanced meditators following your breath is a wonderful way to approach your practice. Breathe in through the nose so the breath goes all the way down into your belly, and then exhale and let it all go. Continue following the breath in and out. I find setting my phone alarm is easiest way to let go of time, knowing that it will tell me when my practice has ended.
2. Pay attention to your thoughts. As you become a practicing meditator, your awareness will increase. Begin noticing your thoughts and how you speak about yourself. Notice how you speak about others, and what that really says about you. Journaling is a wonderful way to take mental notes of what comes up for you, and also to track your progress over time.
3. Be vulnerable. Everyone at some point in time has asked what is my purpose? In order to become who we came here to be, we have to be willing to expose every part of ourselves. Do not be afraid of vulnerability. You will learn so much about who you are when you are willing to let down your guard. Our strength and courage lies in our ability to go within, and see where transformation is needed.