We all are attached to things. Maybe it is past relationships, feelings of hurt, or regret for having done or not done some things. Yet, holding on to these things cause suffering, and stifle our growth.
Now my question to you? What do you need to let go of?
Meditation helps you let go by giving you:
· Clarity of mind, which allows you to see when you are holding on to things
· Inner strength to let go of habitual thought patterns, and focus on something else
· Ability to accept and enjoy the present moment, whatever it is.
There are many things you can do to help you let go. Here are some steps I recommend.
What exactly do you need to let go of?
Be specific. Instead of saying “my previous relationship”, try to find exactly what it is about your previous relationship that you are clinging to. Maybe it was the dream of it working out; or the company and attention of your partner.
Find exactly what it is. And learn to recognize whenever that attachment is present for you.
See how much this attachment is causing you suffering, in one form or another. It is making you waste your precious time and energy in the past, rather than living in the present moment. It is dragging you, preventing you to make changes in your life. And it is creating more emotional drama.
The more you understand the trouble that clinging brings you, the easier it is for you to let go of it.
Think about what is possible for you once you let go. All the good things that can happen for you once you free that energy.
This increases your motivation to let go.
Make a firm decision to let go, and accept things as they are.
Even if old thoughts and emotions come up again, it’s ok, because now you can reaffirm your decision to let go.
Get busy with positive things, things you can control. Like doing your yoga practice, moving forward in your career/studies
This will then take more of your time and energy, helping you switch old of the old attachment.
We also did a breathing exercise that is a very powerful way to balance your emotions and nervous system.
This is one of the several techniques of Pranayama (Yogic Breathing).
- Close your right nostril with your right thumb, and breathe in through the left nostril, counting 3
- Then close your left nostril with your right index finger, open the right nostril, and breathe out counting 6
You can go for 4-8, or 5-10, 6-12, etc. The important thing is that we are aiming for the exhalation to be longer than the inhalation (ideally double). That may be hard in the beginning, so you grow into it as you go.
Breathing should be soft, even, and as soundless as possible. Do not force yourself, it should be comfortable. So adjust your count according to your capacity.
In the beginning it may be a bit hard to get the exhalation twice as long as inhalation, but by time and patience we get there.
You can practice this for 5~10min. It is very relaxing. After that you can just breath normally, and follow with your meditation practice of focusing the attention on the breath, on a mantra, or on the space between the eyebrows.
Finally, on the third part of the class we talked about common reasons why your meditation maybe is not progressing so well.
1. You don’t practice every day
2. You expect results too quickly
3. You don’t relax the body (asanas) and breath (pranayama) before meditation
4. You keep changing your technique
5. You keep your mind too busy or too distracted during day (media, thoughts, restlessness, etc.)