• By Erin Chandler Erinchandlerauthor.com.

What Today Brings

What if you never cleared anything off of your computer, if you never emptied the trash? It would slow down and not work as efficiently. Think of your mind as a computer because that is essentially what it is. If we never clear away the billions of thoughts we have each day, space is taken up. Outdated ideas and problems that have nothing to do with the task at hand overwhelm us. Meditation is the practice of cleaning our minds. It is connecting to the more expansive, inclusive consciousness always available when we quiet the chatter and relax into being. Each day we take a shower and brush our teeth. Each day we brush our teeth, in any case. In our society, we have adjusted to the practice of cleaning our bodies every day, but we are not adjusted to the practice of routinely cleaning our minds. If we want to create a space where we generate real energy and magnetism, we have to regularly empty the accumulated trash in our heads. There is an age-old practice designed to do this. The science of yoga and daily meditation is all about how to put your mind at ease so you can live a genuinely happy life, feel better and have less stress and anxiety. It is about creating a confidence that does not depend on things going any certain way. Kundalini yoga, any type of meditative practice, is suitable for all stages of life and every stage the body might be in. If you can breathe, you can meditate. The science is the attention paid to the breath, the deep inhale through your nose and slow exhale out of your mouth. The practice is to not identify with thoughts, concerns and noises that come up during those minutes of silent meditation. The practice is to not judge when your mind chases a thought down the rabbit hole but to let it go and bring your attention back to the breath. As long as we are dependent on outside forces to make us happy, we will always be on shaky ground. Creating a strong foundation for happiness is of utmost importance. The goal of meditation is to sit ultimately in love, love of our bodies, love of our surroundings, love of our breath … which is what gives us life. Only then are we building, at our deepest, most profound core, a foundation of contentment. This will give us a peace that cannot be taken away in the transient way everything else is. Like the winter takes away summer, so does familiarity take away excitement and a boss takes away a job. Don’t gamble on something outside of yourself to bring sustainable happiness. It is not the nature of life. What is natural is our breath. It is also the one thing we all share. How appropriate that simply focusing on our breath brings us at one with all beings. Meditation practice takes grit and a steely determination not to be distracted by every shiny thing that promises temporary bliss. Fostering this solid foundation of peace will make us able to enjoy these distractions for what they are while not counting on them to make us happy. We will also be able to grieve the sad events sure to come our way while knowing they too are fleeting. The rewards of meditation are so great it is a wonder we are not all strict devotees. It is an experiential endeavor. Trust it. Try it. Just breathe. I will be at the Woodford County Library this Friday at 6 p.m. for a reading from my latest book of essays, “Cinderella Sweeping Up.” There will be conversations to be had, books to buy and snacks to eat!

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