Meditation amongst the redwoods

Last weekend I taught a retreat in Santa Cruz, CA.  Our group rented this beautiful place nestled amongst the redwood trees.  It was super peaceful and very relaxing. Every Sunday morning the Buddhists that live there teach a meditation.

We headed up to the Wish Fulfilling Temple, where they are held and we sat quietly getting ourselves ready for the 45 minute meditation.

She began asking us to sit in a comfortable position and then she asked us to close our eyes and begin to focus on our breathing.  She said to count our breaths on the inhalation, 1, 2, 3, etc. So I began to count. Inhale, 1, exhale, inhale 2, exhale, as so on.

After a few minutes of doing this, she explained that we may begin to think and if we do, she advised putting the thought into a cloud and letting it drift off into the sky.

Well, I was thinking so I put it in the cloud and let it go but it wouldn’t go.  It wanted to stay.

I wondered why?  Why did my thought want to stay so bad?  Why couldn’t I let it go?  Why was it so important to me?

I realized in that moment that the ego was holding onto the thought. It felt that the thought, that place in the future, was more important than where I was at in the moment, sitting quietly and peacefully in a temple. How could a thought be more important then where I was at?

It was a definite aha moment.  Although I have heard this before,  I REALLY GOT IT!

I got that our future and past thoughts are imaginative, they are not real.  We hold onto them because we (our ego) believes that that place, whether past or future, is better than where we are right now.

So next time you are meditating or sitting quietly or overly thinking try this:

1.  Breathe deeply and witness the thought.

2.  Take a moment to realize that it is not tangible.

3.  Take attention to your body and feel it.

4.  Know that the experience you are having right here is the only experience that is real. Everything you need, every opportunity, is right here.

With Love, Shauna