When I was a kid, I used to lay in the grass and stare up at the clouds. I could do that for hours just allowing my mind to wander, daydream, and imagine. Part of the reason I was able to do that was because we had three TV channels and no other electronic devices. The other reason was because, in the summer, my mother literally kicked us out of the house and forced us to play outside until dark. I don’t think my children, in today’s world, have ever taken the opportunity to do nothing the way I did when I was young.
The clutter that pollutes our minds is the constant chatter of devices, other people’s opinions and demands, and an inner drive to get more done. In the midst of doing, being, and seeing so much, it can be easy to lose sight of who we really are.
One of the greatest gifts of exploring the universe within is that you begin to discover who you are. Meditation allows the space for this kind of stillness. When you forget who you are, you tend to conform to what others want. You can also lose your sense of purpose or find yourself chasing goals that don’t even matter.
Listen to Your Internal DialogueInner dialogue can give you a clue to your state of being. What words do you repeat to yourself constantly? How do you treat yourself internally? Pay attention to which internal conversations come up often.
I had a true glimpse of my inner dialogue when I participated in Seduction of Silence in 2010, a silent, advanced meditation event at the Chopra Center that used to coincide with Seduction of Spirit. I didn’t feel I was ready to spend three days in silence at the time, but friends had encouraged me that it was a fantastic experience and so I went. When you spend days at a time in silence, there is only your internal dialogue.
I’m a natural introvert, and I work for myself. Since I spend a lot of time alone during the day, I said, “Oh, this will be a piece of cake.” Well, I was in for a big surprise. If you’re honest with yourself, you can learn a lot about who you are in silence and meditation. In the case of Seduction of Silence, I was surrounded by people, some of whom were in silence and others who weren’t.
After day one, I caught a glimpse of who I was. It’s a humbling experience to learn that you’re not, in fact, the most fantastic person on the planet. My humbling moment came when we were gathered in a large group to hear Deepak Chopra speak. I noticed that each time I sat down, the same woman always sat in front of me. This woman was not in silence. That day this was my internal dialogue: “Why won’t that woman stop talking? She has such an annoying voice. She is saying such utter nonsense. Is she speaking only to hear her own voice?” And then I stopped and another thought came to mind: “Oh my gosh, I am such a judgmental person. Why hadn’t I noticed that before?”
You see, I never noticed or even thought I was judgmental. It was a great awakening for me, and this insight created a tremendous impact on my life from that moment on.
Remember Your Deepest and Most Cherished DesiresNo one knows your deepest desires but you. And no one is your biggest cheerleader but you. One of the greatest reasons to explore your inner universe through meditation is to remember your desires.
I have a great family who believes in me, but my dreams are big—extremely big. And here’s a reminder: Yours should be, too. As great as my family is, they will never believe in my dreams as much as I will. The only way to gain inner strength in re-establishing the fire for your dreams and desires is to turn within. We live in a seemingly limited world. Even well-intended people will try and give you a reality check. Because many people are not listening to their own inner voices, a lot of doubt exists.
When you turn inward through your meditation practice, you build your strength and stamina to face the world and move confidently in the direction of your dreams.
Understand How Connected You AreYou are not alone. So many of us try to face this great big world alone. We strive to do it all, be it all, and achieve it all by ourselves. You are part of a dynamic universe. The creative force that orchestrates the entire universe created you. It doesn’t matter if you call that orchestrator God, Spirit, or Mother Nature, you are a piece of something big.
Meditation connects you to all that is. We often look at meditation as a chance to unplug from the world, but in reality, we are plugging into the entire universe. By getting in touch with your soul, you can more easily match the vibe of the universal soul. You can begin to see yourself as expansive rather than restrictive. You find that you’re able to connect to others more easily, and in return your reality becomes much bigger.