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A Meditation + Writing Exercise to Conquer Your Fear

A meditation + writing exercise to conquer your fear, banner

To prepare for the dog days of summer, we move from amusement to audacity. Being a dog owner and lover, I particularly enjoy the expression “dog days.” I always picture a pile of lazy dogs panting away in the shade of a chestnut tree, waiting out the heat of the day to go for an evening walk. Venturing into the heat of creative and spiritual practice takes courage; it is an audacious undertaking.

This July, I invite you to take on a “BHAG”—a Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal. Write forth your truth and wake up to expanded awareness in the process. Whether that means starting a journal or writing a poem, novel, memoir, or letter to your grandmother, audacity will drive you forward. I want you to commit here and now to do your best in any given moment. Move forward with your best intentions of creativity and spiritual awakening at heart. This combined meditation and writing practice will help you get there.

A Meditation on Audacity

Let’s begin with where we are—in a grounded and courageous place, fully embodied. Find your comfortable place to sit. Rest your hands easily in your lap and your feet flat on the ground or cushion. Gently close your eyes. Take a few breaths inward and release. Find that natural rhythm of your breathing, connecting with your breathing body. Tune into your immediate sensory experience, just noticing what your experience is right in this moment. Let your breath be your anchor and ground.

See if you can bring to mind a particularly scary or vulnerable situation. Think of one in which you recently felt exposed, sensitive, even fearful; not one in which you were in a dangerous situation, but a memory of you putting yourself out there in some way—confronting someone, speaking to a group, asking someone new out on a date. As memories of the situation come to you, breathe deeply into your belly and know that you are safe now, breathing here in this moment in this body. If you need to, you can open your eyes, but try to remain grounded in your breathing body. Notice the rush of sensations and allow whatever arises to arise with love, patience, and compassion. Be gentle with yourself and remember that you are safe. See if you can stay with the feelings and simply explore how your fear or discomfort exists as a bodily sensation.

Notice where in your body you feel them. Breathe nurturing air into those places. Allow yourself to become familiar with the sensations of fear and vulnerability without the need to disconnect, distract, or avoid altogether. Be patient and kind with yourself as the emotions and feelings stream through. Gently note any physical changes: increased body heat, increased heart rate, tingling in your arms, increased sweating, and so on. Notice how the sensations linger, change, and dissipate. Become curious and open while kindly grounding yourself in the breath.

Put both hands on your heart, left on top of right, and take a deep breath. Say to yourself, “May I be well, may I be at peace, may I be bathed in the light of lovingkindness and compassion right now.” Take another deep breath, exhale, and release your hands. Bring them back together, palm to palm, at your heart and bow to yourself in gratitude for your courage and love. Open your eyes to complete the meditation.

You might try this meditation for five minutes at first and then extend it as you feel more audacious and courageous. The more you allow the feelings to arise and exist, the more familiar you will become with them. In turn, you will be better able to let them go and dissipate and see them for what they are—waves of energy and information arising and passing away.

Now for the writing . . . Write down three things you can do in the next month that scare you. They don’t have to be drastic acts such as speaking in front of 400 people. How about just sitting down to write that first scene of your novel? Typing up your first few poems? That can be scary enough. And these frightening endeavors don’t have to be related to writing. Maybe it’s a little terrifying to sit in meditation with your eyes closed for more than five minutes. Check in with yourself and see what’s a little scary for you—where can you push yourself a little further? Book a trip overseas, sign up for a rock-climbing adventure, agree to read at your local open mic. Keep in mind that you don’t have to actually do these things right now. Simply start by writing them down and sitting in their presence for a bit. Then you can take action to feel your fear and do it anyway!

This excerpt has been shortened and adapted from Writing as a Path to Awakening: A Year to Becoming an Excellent Writer and Living an Awakened Life.

A Meditation + Writing Exercise to Conquer Your Fear, Albert Flynn DeSilver

 

 

ALBERT FLYNN DESILVER is an internationally published poet, memoirist, novelist, speaker, and workshop leader. He has published several books of poetry, Beamish Boy, and his newest book, Writing as a Path to Awakening. He teaches at the Omega Institute, Esalen, Spirit Rock, and writing conferences nationally. He lives in Northern California. For more, visit albertflynndesilver.com.

 

 

 

A Meditation + Writing Exercise to Conquer Your Fear, Writing as a Path to Awakening, Albert Flynn DeSilver

 

 

Buy your copy of Writing as a Path to Awakening: A Year to Becoming an Excellent Writer and Living an Awakened Life at your favorite bookseller!

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A Guided Standing Meditation to Activate Your Creative...

 

Albert Flynn Desilver - A Guided Standing Meditation to Activate Your Creative Imagination Blog Banner

Springtime in the heart of May is a time of renewal and discovery, a time of reminding, reconnecting, and remembering our true imaginative potential. Mother may I? Yes, you May. Express your full imaginative self, just as the flowers, fourth graders, and fully feathered birds do.

You are your imagination. It’s not something outside of you that you read in the pages of some book, or something you overhear in the next booth over at Bubba’s Drive-In, or even the memory of your adventures trekking across Nepal (although these are all terrific things to write about). It’s found within you — your imaginative heart and soul, looking like a nebula of stars throbbing in your bloodstream a thousand times a second, at this very moment. Here’s a way to practice conjuring up (imagining) and letting go: the standing “skeleton scan” meditation.

Skeleton Scan Meditation

  • Find a quiet place in your house with a soft and comfortable surface to stand on. Close your eyes and take a deep breath inward.
  • Ground yourself in this moment, in your body. After the first deep breath, let your breathing become natural.
  • Now lightly bring a thread of your awareness to your feet and breathe into your feet. Feel the stability and grounding of your breath at your feet. Now, with your mind’s eye, see the little toe bones of your feet, then follow your imagining to the main parts of your feet and to where they meet your ankle bones.
  • Continue up your legs to view the bones joining to your knees then up to your hip bones.
  • See your hip bones where they connect to your sacrum and your spine. Now visualize your vertebrae climbing and then branching out into your rib cage. See the ribs of your body wrapping around you and joining at your sternum, protecting your heart.
  • Notice now the bones of your shoulders holding your arms, and see those bones of your upper arms, into your elbows, and down to your hands and finger bones.
  • Now bring your visualization back up your arms, past your elbows, back up to your shoulders, and see now your neck and where your spine connects to your skull.
  • See your skull, the round smoothness of the bone with hollow sockets for your eyes and nose, and see the bones of your jaw and teeth.
  • Breathe into this visualized experience of your skeleton. Breathe in and feel your body
    swaying gently, knowing right now that this skeleton is your stability and ground—these mineral bones are your conduit to earth and sky.
  • Take a deep breath inward, exhale, and open your eyes.

 

ALBERT FLYNN DESILVER is an internationally published poet, memoirist, novelist, speaker, and workshop leader. He has published several books of poetry, his memoir Beamish Boy (Owl Press, 2012), and his new book Writing as a Path to Awakening (Sounds True, 2017). He teaches at the Omega Institute, Esalen, Spirit Rock, and writing conferences nationally. He lives in Northern California. For more, visit albertflynndesilver.com.

Buy your copy of Writing as a Path to Awakening: A Year to Becoming an Excellent Writer and Living an Awakened Life at Sounds True or your favorite bookseller. 

Singing Bowl Meditation Sounds True Spotify Playlist

Sounds True is on Spotify!

Need some tunes for rest and relaxation? Check out our Singing Bowl Meditation Playlist! A variety of artists who make a soothing mix of infinite rhythms using Tibetan singing bowls. Perfect throughout a meditative practice.

 

Embrace the Hustle & Bustle with this “Shake it...

Sometimes life is complicated, especially during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. We may be able to cope with everyday stresses, but when we have multiple traumatic events happening at once, we can feel frozen by fear and uncertainty, stuck in our painful circumstances. We may feel victimized and incapable of making a move. As our modern age speeds up, this feeling can intensify to the point that we make ourselves sick. What can we do when we feel so confused and empty that we become immobilized and exhausted?

This kundalini meditation is designed to help center your consciousness and channel all your confusion out of your psyche. You give your feelings of uncertainty, pain, and blame to the universe and replace them with the pure, clear light of your soul, accessing what was actually there all along.

 

  1. Sit up with your spine straight. Center yourself with your breath.
  2. Interlace your fingers in front of your heart with the index fingers pressed together pointing up.  Close your eyes, focusing internally on the third eye point.
  3. Begin chanting the mantra “Wahe Guru, Wahe Guru, Wahe Guru, Wahe Jio” (pronounced “wah-hey guh-roo, wah-hey guh-roo, wah-hey guh-roo, wah-hey jee-oh”). Our translation of this mantra is: “As in amazement, here and now, all darkness is transformed to illuminating light in my soul.” Practice doing this chant with the following visualization:
    • On the syllable of “wah,” feel the sound vibrating at your navel.
    • On the syllable of “hey,” feel the sound vibrating at your heart.
    • On the syllables of “gur-roo” and “jee-oh,” feel the sounds vibrating at your lips.
  4. Continue chanting the mantra for up to 11 minutes.
  5. Inhale deeply and hold your breath in. Feel the echo of the sounds still vibrating in your navel, heart, and lips. Suspend your breath for as long as you comfortably can and then exhale very consciously.
  6. Inhale a second time and again suspend your breath. Release the feeling of being trapped by circumstances. Surrender it to the universe. Surrender your pain and feelings of blame. Release your stress and your uncertainty. Give it all to God. Hold the breath for as long as you comfortably can and then exhale, still holding your concentration.
  7. Inhale a third time and give your life to God. Surrender. Whatever God means to you, offer your existence to that. Allow yourself to feel the purification this action creates in your psyche. When you are ready, exhale and sit for a while with the whole experience of this powerful meditation.

 

Looking for more great reads?

 

Excerpted from Essential Kundalini Yoga by Karena Virginia & Dharm Khalsa.

Karena Virginia brings 20 years of experience as a certified healer and registered instructor in the kundalini and hatha schools. Before her teaching career, she worked in the entertainment industry as an actress and model. She lives in the New York City area. For more information, visit karenavirginia.com.

 

Dharm Khalsa is a board member of the Siri Singh Sahib Corporation, the nonprofit overseeing kundalini yoga in the US since founder Yogi Bhajan’s passing. Trained directly by Yogi Bhajan, for whom he was a personal assistant for nearly a decade, Dharm has taught kundalini yoga since 1980. He lives in New Mexico.

David Wallin: A Good Marriage, Therapy, and Meditation...

David Wallin, PhD, is a practicing psychologist whose work on attachment theory has shaped related fields for decades. The author of the classic text Attachment in Psychotherapy, David has partnered with Sounds True to offer the online course Attachment in the Practice of Psychotherapy: Relational Transformation, Nonverbal Experience, and the Psychology of the Therapist. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, David and Tami Simon discuss the basics of attachment theory—specifically how our early childhood experiences influence social patterns later in life. They speak on the four general attachment patterns and the three factors that help influence these patterns for the better. Finally, David and Tami talk about what it takes to raise a securely attached child, including the importance of making room for a child’s entire inner life. (69 minutes)

Lodro Rinzler: Meditation and Kindness: Two Keys to Cr...

Lodro Rinzler is an author and renowned meditation teacher who has led trainings at Google, Harvard, and the White House. His many books include The Buddha Walks into a Bar and How to Love Yourself. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon and Lodro discuss the Shambhala tradition of Buddhism that Lodro teaches in—specifically, its goal of creating an enlightened society. They speak on how to truly cultivate kindness and what it takes to be a mindful leader during difficult times. Lodro comments on what he calls “The Four Exhilarations” and “The Four Dignities,” and in a culmination of the discussion, explains his overarching mission in teaching meditation to the world. (62 minutes)

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