I have a deep love for animals and have always been fascinated with how much they have to teach us. I know it sounds geeky but I love learning from ocean animals because I think the sea is truly the final frontier! There are places we still have not explored and species are beings discovered all the time–which is remarkable to me! The adaptations of these animals to extreme cold and total darkness are amazing and unbelievable. I also love to think about how old some of these animals are. There are literally some dinosaurs down there! (Those are really the only animals who could have survived the ice age.) So anyway, I am pretty easily amazed and overwhelmed by the intricacies that surround us. In a world that seems so jaded, isn’t fun to stand in awe? I think it feels wonderful to become childlike with wonder, to be reminded how very small we are and yet how beautifully and wonderfully made.
We can live our lives like this by approaching things with a beginner’s mind. I hear this term a lot in yoga and meditation. It means seeing all things new. This is a wonderful mindful practice that will bring a sense of wonderment to your life and a deep overwhelming sense of gratitude. Give it a try today! As you walk outside admire the warm sun on your skin, the cool air you breath, people’s laughter around you. Then try it with the seemingly mundane things and see your world be transformed! When you can give thanks for the warm sudsy water as you wash your dishes, remembering the delicious meal you just ate, thankful to have the food to feed your body and plates on which to eat it, you will find great joy. If you are still rolling your eyes as you read this, that’s okay! Take it one step at a time, and appreciate with great wonder something you love in your life. And if you need to remember what awe feel like, watch this video from Science Friday.
Holy Moly, right?! I watched that entire video with my jaw dropped open. Language fails us when it comes to describing things like this. There is only so many times I can say remarkable & unbelievable!
One of the things I love the most about this is what marine biologist Roger Hanlon says at the end. “We’re behind…if we think the world looks like the way we see it.” Wow. How true. It is such a gift to be reminded of how little we truly see. Our vision is so very limited, our knowledge, and our perception as well. We must learn to look beyond.
It reminds me of the saying that ‘we are not humans beings on a spiritual journey, but rather spiritual beings on a human journey.’ What would change in your day to day life if you approached it from that standpoint? Not only would we live surrounded by awe and joy, but we would have much more compassion for our fellow beings. We could begin to feel the comfort of the interconnectedness of everyone and everything around us. How do we begin to practice this? Through mediation. When we meditate, we begin to lift the veils that ‘cover’ our true spiritual selves, made by society, and history and our own false perceptions and limited vision. This is how we learn to go inside, find and connect with our true selves, the part of us that is from our source and the part of us that is the same as in everyone else (like the term Namaste’).
Last night, my teacher, Rudrani from World Yoga Center, said “to say that meditation is relaxing, or relieves stress, is too small. Meditation is a REVOLUTIONARY practice!” It’s so important! When you first begin to meditate, you may glimpse that space, that part of yourself. You may begin to feel, energy, or shakti, like a shiver or a warmth, and, hopefully, you feel a comfort in that place. If you are not there yet, don’t worry, but don’t stop practicing. You do not want meditation to feel like a chore, something you get to check off your ‘to-do’ list. My teachers have said don’t do it if that is what it feels like. But take time to keep coming back to that comforting space inside.
Deepen your breath, still your body and ask for guidance from God, the universe, or any guru or sage or saint, to find that place. When you meditate, you are being assisted and guided by many spiritual teachers, ancient and living, and they will care for you. Remember to notice what you see and feel during your sessions. Everything is valid and important. It’s okay to feel nothing but relaxed, but you may see the face of teacher or experience a vivid memory, or feel hotness or coldness or laugh bubbling up. That is all wonderful and means that you are letting the energy flow and connecting to your true self. So if you struggle with ‘liking’ meditation, start with a few of these suggestions–you simply want to enjoy the feeling so much, that you want to go back there time and time again. You even want to live there.
What a gift that is inside us all, waiting to be uncovered. Take a few minutes in meditation today and then open your spiritual eyes in wonder.