Excerpt from "Breathing Love: Meditation in Action" by Jennie Lee © 2018. Used by permission from Llewellyn Worldwide.
With the state of the world now, we need meditation more than ever to overcome the spiritual dementia that keeps us suffering and alienated from love. There is no greater way to expand our experience of love than through both a dedicated sitting practice of meditation and one that is organically interwoven throughout our lives. In the stillness created through meditation, we unplug from the sensory experience of the separate ego self, which is the part of us that suffers from fear, alienation and stress. Turning within toward our soul self, we feel more settled and at peace here and now, and more inclined to be kind to those around us. Whether we know it or not, we all yearn to end our self-imposed exile from love.
Before we can perceive our unity in love however, we need a container for the resentment, fear, temptation, sorrow and disappointment that we all struggle with. We need to befriend the hurt feelings that come through our misguided attempts at love, in order to move beyond them into a genuine experience of true love.
But how do we open our hearts and access love if we have been wounded? How can we awaken love in others who are closed as a result of painful abuse or neglect? We need a space in which we can transform pain and experience a new level of love.
Meditation is the space in which we can observe our consciousness and balance the interplay of the small ego self and the pure soul Self. By cultivating inner stillness, we create a calm foundation that allows the ego to relax, and the soul to take charge, providing loving guidance for our lives. We quiet our fluctuating feelings and learn to watch but not follow our restless thoughts.
Through meditation we counteract the damaging effects of anxiety, anger, and stress in our lives, and build the strength to overcome self-defeating habits. Meditation helps us make our way through the darkness of delusion in our own hearts, to the remembrance that we already are that which we are seeking.
The practice offers us a direct experience of unified reality, and sparks a greater capacity for loving. We develop the ability to be in positive, fulfilling relationships, and we connect to personal meaning and purpose. With consistent practice, we widen the channel of our awareness so the fullness of Source love might flow through us continuously without obstructions.
Resetting Through Meditation
Like love, meditation can be practiced by anyone, anywhere, anytime, regardless of religion, age, or health status. It requires no material resources for success and no prior experience. To meditate, the first requirement is simply the will to move into stillness and inquire within. We must detach from the continuously stimulating outer world and stop offering all our time and attention to external pursuits of love to come into communion with it within.
Our daily meditation practice anchors us in love so that when difficulty arises, we can re-balance more quickly. Grounded in our loving essence, we can look upon each challenge as just another test of our ability to remain in a highly loving place, there to help us overcome reactivity and develop a clearer heart.
We develop the ability to withstand whatever life delivers with a calm perspective because we know love as more than just personal emotion, but rather as the essence of our being. Through stillness and concentration, we develop receptivity to love, and from there we sense the right course of action for our lives.
Meditation makes us peaceful and eventually shows us the greatest truth – how to be in love with the one pure love. Here we find all that we need, regardless of who is with us in our lives. When we reconnect to love within, we find the truth to solve every problem and the strength with which to do so. Eventually both meditating and loving become as second nature as breathing. Then we know we are home.
A Meditation Practice of Breathing Love
The breath reflects the opening and closing of our hearts in each moment. To cultivate inner peace, place one hand over your heart, and let the other hand rest open in your lap. Begin to take conscious breaths of love. Breathe in deeply and close the hand on your lap. Feel the simultaneous receiving of the breath and receiving of love. Then breathe out, open your hand, and feel the simultaneous offering through the breath and offering of love out into the world through your hand. Continue for several minutes and recognize the interplay between giving and receiving love through every breath. Every breath I exhale in love, you inhale. Every exhalation you offer in love, I inhale. Together we change the world, one breath at a time.