Life is the instrument we use to experiment with the truth. ~Tibetan Proverb
The New Year is a new opportunity to realign with our true essence. For me, the devotion to an awakened life comprised of mindful awareness, compassion and authentic living is my deepest intention. As a mindfulness-based psychotherapist, meditation instructor and Buddhist woman in this world, I experience a depth of interest in maintaining the Bodhisattva path ~ cultivating a rich inner life, moment-to-moment. To look within takes courage and we should be more afraid of avoiding our inner path than walking on it.
As modern day humans, we experience endless pressure to do more with less, striving towards perfection. In a society that privileges achievement through relentless doing, it’s easy to get caught up in the rat race of striving for external image, achievements and materialism. In the West, the emphasis is on external consciousness opposed to the richness that an inner life can offer. But if we become aware of our default modes of being, such as constantly comparing ourselves to others, we can begin to witness this self-talk with genuine curiosity. To fully understand the habitual ways we knock ourselves off balance emotionally and psychologically is to untangle how we perpetuate our own suffering. Here, mindfulness becomes our portal into profound liberation.
Mindfulness has the amazing capacity to be the yin to our yang (our over-scheduled-iPhone-crazed-hurried lives). Practicing mindfulness can create a greater sense of inner peace, emotional balance and joy, offering an alternative relationship to the unfolding of our inner and outer lives. We must attend to our emotional tones, thought patterns and body sensations with renewed commitment. It’s through this attention that we expand the sacred container of our minds, bodies and hearts to hold the ebb and flow of our lives. Through an expanded sacred container, the beauty of energetic and emotional balance becomes held within the temple of our body.
Excavate your inner balance with these 3 mindful strategies:
Detox From Social Media
Let’s face it, social media is a breeding ground for envy, jealousy and resentment. The incessant social comparison we engage in while scanning our Facebook feeds stunts our capacity to be in the present moment with ourselves.
When you feel the urge to grab that IPhone while waiting to check-out at the grocery store, pause to notice your thoughts, feelings and body sensations. Mindfully ride that impulsive wave, acknowledging it without reacting. To acknowledge and honor the urge frees up space to choose an intentional response. For example, taking 5 deep breaths into your belly instead of reactively scrolling your Instagram feed. This choice is a choice of intentional living. Through proactive action, we reclaim our lives right here in the present moment.
Find Your Mantra
Mantra is a Sanskrit word meaning “sacred utterance” that is repeated as a yogic tool to anchor the mind, often used as a portal into meditation. Choose a word or phrase that holds meaning to you in your life. It’s a new year which means it’s a new opportunity to align with your heart’s deepest intentions. Ask yourself, how do I want to walk through this world? What does my heart long for? Allow your mantra to be words of affirmation that you use throughout your year – and perhaps in years to come!
When you repeat your personal mantra out loud, allow the vibrational quality to penetrate your heartspace. When you surrender to a mantra, you allow it to wash over you in the present moment. As you rest in pure awareness of your here-and-now experience, you become grounded in your true essence. In these mantra moments, you’re not trying to be anyone or anything else, but rather, you’re journeying back home to the refuge of your inner being. This inner space between the turbulence of our thoughts is the bedrock of emotional freedom.
With consistency, mantra can be the spiritual antidote to high levels of normalized stress and perpetual busyness, helping us to reclaim the balance waiting within.
Smile Through Your Heartspace
Sustained happiness is an unrealistic goal. However, deeply entrenched contentment indicates a highly integrated mind, body and spirit. When we preserve the time to cultivate our heart capacities, our content, loving vibrations radiate from the heartspace, attracting other beings who nourish this high level of consciousness. Imagine the bright, radiating sun on a stormy day. Although grey and ominous clouds blanket the sky, the sun continues to reside behind the clouds, emanating with warmth. Imagine your heart as the radiant sun and the clouds as stress, insecurity and self-destructive thoughts. When our hearts are clouded, our inner light feels dim and it becomes difficult to connect with ourselves and others.
Practice keeping a half buddha smile on your face while sitting on your meditation cushion, during your yoga practice or even sitting at your work desk. Then, direct your attention to the heartspace and notice how your heart responds when you smile – do you feel a sense of warmth? Tingling? Openness?
When you make heart softening a daily practice, it awakens the natural capacities of the heart, increasing your ability to give and receive love, kindness and compassion. Through the journey of my own heart opening meditations, my body, heart and mind feel more loving towards myself and the world. I’ve realized that this inner Bodhisattva of balance sits on a throne of darkness and light. Our courage to turn toward both our greatest joys and darkest moments is the very spiritual serum that nourishes a balanced inner self.
With a committed intention to cultivate mindful awareness, you can begin living your own best, balanced life, rich with expanding consciousness.
A warm invite for you to join me at an upcoming mindfulness retreat or workshop ~ explore upcoming events HERE. For more wisdom on cultivating inner balance, subscribe to my blog and follow me on Instagram.
See you on The Path!