Jacqueline is a former member of the Canadian National Swim Team with over 10 years experience as a fitness professional. She holds a graduate degree in Health Sciences and is also a nutrition expert. Jacqueline is the co-owner of Move to Heal, a sport injury, yoga, and pilates clinic located in the heart of downtown Toronto in the Thompson Hotel Residences.
Meditation has always meandered the line between physical and spiritual. While detachment can be a nice idea, it usually only lasts until the rent is due, the baby is sick, your boyfriend/girlfriend won’t text you back, your pay cheque is late, etc. While enlightenment is a beautiful thought, it can get lost in the 24/7 shuffle that is modern life.
It’s a balancing act that puts you in an odd predicament. So what do you do?
Well, the first step is to realize that it has always been this way. There has always been a struggle between even the basic need for food and housing and the desire for spiritual enlightenment. In fact, 2,500 years ago, those seeking enlightenment still had to worry about food and water and a place to sleep — only then, the lack of food and clean water was a much more immediate concern than it is for most today. And beyond this, let’s not forget about all of our first world problems which, relatively speaking, can be quite large ordeals in our everyday life. Even I get upset when the line at Jimmy’s is too long in the morning for me to get my AM roast.
So, how has meditation evolved? Well, our concerns aren’t limited to the sight line of a village anymore, but they have expanded to the global village we now live in.
This is why meditation, like all things, has evolved. We can still practice it today, reach out and adapt mediation to fit our own needs and lifestyle (including the line up at Jimmy’s). Even if you’re not doing it perfectly, you can gain from the practice. So, what the heck am I talking about and what does all this mean?
Well, it means that modern meditation isn’t just for the yogi, eating at the vegan restaurant down the street — it’s for you too! And not only that, it will also be highly beneficial for you too, if you’re just willing to do four simple things…
Take A Breath
Do not worry if you’re doing it right or not – just take a long, slow, deep breath. Allow yourself to feel the calm flowing into you, expanding you, surrounding you. I like to imagine this as a blue light, filling my every being with relaxing, cooling calm. Your parasympathetic nervous system will take this as a sign to relax. Your mind will see it as an opportunity to quiet your brain. Simply allow yourself to slow down for five minutes and breathe. That is the start to any meditation practice.
Give Yourself Permission To Stop
That’s right, before you can stop you have to give yourself permission to stop. Simple, but not easy. Just keep at it. Whenever a distraction comes up, acknowledge it and let it go. This way you can become aware of the world around you. Give thanks and appreciate what you hear, smell, taste, and feel before you continue on with your day.
Let It Go
I say this all the time and to everyone. Whatever you are loading onto your back, whatever you are dragging from room to room, whatever you are carrying with you, just set it down and let it go. Emotions, fears, comments others have said… let it go. That is just your 40,000 year-old brain doing what it does. It’s time for you to take over. Believe me, this is the hardest part. I like to imagine putting all those things into one of those lanterns they light in Thailand, and letting it go up in to the sky, past the stratosphere, never coming to my world again.
Fill It With Love
Whatever you let go, don’t leave the space that is left behind empty. Remember to fill it up with something or your brain will fill it up all on its own. Love is always a good place to start. It may sound pedantic, but every time you start to put someone down, every little comment you make to yourself, every spiteful thought that comes to mind is a seed you plant. Stop yourself from those thoughts and plant a little seed of love. They add up quickly and grow even quicker. Also, karma and The Secret are real. Negative thoughts, feelings, and actions will breed and manifest negative thoughts, feelings, and actions. Positivism will always produce greater results.