Well. It feels like the world was a different place when this series started last week. Here in the United States, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken over our day-to-day lives, and I know for many of my international listeners, you have already been in the midst of this for some time.

After some internal debate, I decided to continue with this series as planned, because, of course, the teachings support this very moment we are in – we began this series with a discussion of the tools of the modern wayfinder. The tools of hindsight, insight & foresight are the gifts a meditation practices offers the practitioner as a means of finding one’s self again.

Some of the names for meditation actually translate to mean “insight”.

The original meditation texts talk about the practice leading us to our innermost, truthful state of sorrowless joy & inner luminosity. Essentially, these teachings tell us there is an undisturbed well of peace inside… if only we can access it.

Ah, but we can!!

“When directed outward, the mind unveils of the mysteries pertaining to the external world: we become scientists. When directed inward, it unveils its own mysteries and sees the seer within: we become sages.” ~The Secret of the Yoga Sutra, Pandit Rajmani Tigunait

This practice is an invitation to turn the mind’s eye inward and look. To listen. We keep ourselves busy to avoid seeing within, and this practice tells us to stop running away from ourselves and to look. 

Now, we happen to be in a moment with a lot of fear and anxiety, so I want to take some time to talk about what happens when we feel fear in our meditation practice.

When I meditate, sometimes I feel a lot of fear . . . what should I do? 

When we meditate, eventually we will sit amidst the full range of human emotions. Fear is a big one and when it comes up it can be hard to stay to present with it. You can start by simply acknowledging, “I feel fear right now” or “this is fear”. Try to keep your breath relaxed and natural. Keeping your awareness with your breath, you might notice the physical sensations that accompany fear. You might notice any particular story lines/belief/ imagined outcomes that accompany this fear. You don’t need to try to “stop” the fear or change it to something else. Simply, kindly, see if you can stay present, stay mindful of the breath as fear arises and inevitably falls away. 

With meditation, we learn that our emotions are constantly shifting and changing. As fluid as the weather, sometimes it is stormy and sometimes it is sunny. Patience and kindness is what allows us to weather the storm with as little damage as possible.

Always, with any intense emotion including fear, if the feelings are too much – meaning you can no longer keep the breath relaxed and natural or you can’t keep yourself in the present moment – gently end your meditation, open your eyes and give yourself several minutes to reconnect to the safety of the moment you are in. You can try any of the grounding techniques we’ve learned to bring yourself back to neutral. It might take  practice to stay present during fear. Maybe at first you can only stay for a minute or two, but each time you mediate you might find that you can stay a little longer a little easier.

Join me for today’s episode of The Mindful Minute as we explore working with fear and the well of peace inside; we will also practice with the mantra “May I be safe. May I be held. May I be loved.” as part of today’s practice. 

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