The Art of Meditation – Relaxing Into It
Meditation is a funny thing. One minute you are struggling, fighting the moment, your mind, and your thoughts, then in a blink of an eye, you can be drifting into the gap between everything, floating in a sea of tranquillity, calmly observing all the surrounds you from the calm equanimity of your higher self. This is what I call relaxing into it and once you get it, with a little practice, you can find your way back there.
About six years ago, whilst managing a yoga retreat, I remember watching a yoga teacher preach about karma yoga and service to others as he sat draped himself across the chairs in the dining area surrounded by the remains of his breakfast. We had one rule at mealtimes, that everyone clears their plates into buckets so that the kitchen could tidy the space and get on with the day. This particular teacher never cleared his space. It had been going on for days. I was at the end of my tether. I overheard him talking about service to others and I butted into that it would be great karma yoga for him to clear his plates so we could lay the table for lunch. Of course, this escalated into an almighty fight. The yoga teacher was not so peaceful after all and I was incredibly angry.
Eventually, we sorted out our differences but this propelled me back into a meditation practice with a difference. Up until this incident, I was practicing meditation to try and get somewhere. To achieve an enlightened state of samadhi, to escape reality or myself perhaps, or to discover some supernatural power or control over my reality. I realised that the one thing I needed to do was to relax into each moment, to pay attention to my emotions and to just be, without any agenda.
I had experienced really lovely states of meditation before this, but I had also struggled immensely. Half the time I never knew what type of meditation to choose, the other half of the time I was battling with my thoughts and focus, and a small portion of the time I actually managed to sit and have a great experience.
Yet from this trigger point – a small, insignificant drama with a fellow yoga teacher – it was quite obvious that I needed to find some calm within me. I can’t remember now, but I probably wrote my anger out in my journal. We need to acknowledge our emotions and express them in some way and Soul Writing is my preferred method. I embarked on daily morning meditations with a different focus in mind. The goal was simple. Just to relax into the moment. Just to breath. Just to be.
Relaxing Into It
Within a few days, my whole energy had changed. My anger and frustration that had built up over summer dissolved like morning mist. I was happier, calmer and more focused. I wasn’t searching for something or hoping some amazing thing would happen to me. I wasn’t overly concerned with how I was doing it or whether I was worthy or holy enough. I just sat, every morning for five to ten minutes with a meditation track, slowed my breathing down, allowed my thoughts to do what they wanted and just watched myself.
I watched my body moving. I watched my emotions dancing in harmony with my thoughts. I watched how my body would relax and release some tension which would then release some kind of energy which would create a rush of emotion which was linked in some way to a thought. I just breathed in and breathed out, watching this cycle occur. My approach to meditation changed forever.
Since that moment, many things have come and gone. Life moves in waves and so has my meditation practice. I have returned to it, then forgotten again as new priorities like music, writing and health seemed to get in the way. Once again though, I am back at the point where I am exploring meditation as vital to our physical, mental and spiritual well-being. I teach a writing class online and meditation is integral to that process. I am currently writing meditation music and producing some very interesting Polish meditations with my wife for Freedom Scent, a company that focused on meditation for well-being.
In the last part, I will explore how I have been using meditation in the last few months and how the Freedom Scent meditations have improved my health.
This blog series is inspired by Matt’s work with Freedom Scent, a company that makes meditations and lockets infused with essential oils for healing, relaxation and positive change. Matt and his wife have been helping to record different versions of the meditations and Matt is working on some future music for them.
Matt Rivers is a singer, songwriter, musician, poet, teacher and writer of words. He is passionate about rediscovering our inner creative flow, adding love and beauty to society and looking after our wonderful, amazing planet. If you are interested in attending one of his Soul Writing sessions check out the workshop page.
Grab a copy of his new book Note to Self: Writing to Reveal Your Soul exclusively on Amazon Kindle.