I grew up with meditation all around me. And Rumi – a lot of Rumi! Aside from daily prayers and abiding by principles like kindness and service, as an Ismaili Muslim I was always taught that there is a way to merge with my Higher Self/God/Love that I have access to at all times; that ‘way’ is through meditation. Obviously, this is not limited to any one religion, any one faith group or any one person.
Whenever I have spoken up to educate about religion, it has been about just that: education. Building bridges through knowledge, because knowledge is power and eradicates fear. But I don’t propagate one religion over another and to be honest, I am irked by door-knockers, billboards and radical statements about there being only one person who can lead us to ‘salvation’ or one path that leads to nirvana. It makes me sad that people are divided over something that is supposed to remind us to be kind and loving.
Russell Brand nails it when he says in this video, “God is not something that’s about thinking you’re better than someone or a reason to have a war with someone. It’s that within us, beneath our and beyond our identity as human beings driven by fear and desire, defined by the realm of the senses and the material self which is transitory, there is a divine self that is connected to all living things, that is part of an infinite source of creativity.”
I talk and write primarily about that connection to one’s Self – that creative, authentic, kind part of us that when released can bring a lot of good to us as individuals and communities. One of the best ways I know to connect to this infinite source of creativity is to meditate.
Meditation has become kind of trendy and hippie-chic, making it almost a commodity. But I invite you to look at it this way: meditation is simply getting quiet and still enough to be open to your own Wisdom. That idea alone is empowering, isn’t it? That we each have the Wisdom we need inside us, and that we each have the power to access it. That puts us all on an even playing field, too…which is why I teach my kids about all the different religions as subjects to study and learn from – but why I teach them about their individual relationship with Source as the truth which they must nurture and value.
I remember when my daughter was around 4 or 5 years old, we were sitting at the dinner table and suddenly she held up her hand and said, while looking at it, “Is this real? Sometimes I feel like this isn’t real. Like there’s something ELSE that’s real.” I paused, not able to swallow my bite; I had said something along those lines to my dad around the same age. I actually distinctly remember holding up my hand, and noticing the space between the fingers, the outline of this mass that seemed so heavy and clumsy…and not real.
Her experience, and mine, affirmed for me that as children we are pretty open to this idea (that our bodies aren’t ‘real’ but our soul is), especially in an environment that allows for outside the box thinking. If we shove that knowledge into a tiny space inside us, then as adults we might ridicule such ideas or even fear them. If we are encouraged to stay connected to our authentic and creative Self throughout childhood and adolescence, then as an adult we don’t fear it – we embrace it.
The benefits of meditation/connecting to one’s Self are numerous; they are physical (an increase in gray matter of the brain), emotional (we have a better handle on our emotions and experience a decrease in anxiety and fear) and spiritual (we are always aware of the finite-ness of our existence on Earth and subsequently, aware of our spiritual desires to help and serve others).
I was spurred to write this because, last Thursday, after quite some time, I spent much of the night and early morning connecting with my Self this way. It was a night that was set aside just for that and it wasn’t an opportunity I would have daily (nor would I have the strength and stamina to do it!), but it was a reminder that I do have 10 minutes a day, 15 minutes a day, 20 minutes a day to not just ‘be by myself’…but to be WITH my Self.
And yes, I could totally benefit from more gray matter, decreased anxiety and more spiritual awareness. But I don’t need to do it for any other reason than it is simply something my soul wants. And since that is the ‘real’ part of me (the authentic Self), I choose to honour it.
I hope these words resonate with you in some way and I love hearing your thoughts in the comments. In a nutshell, this post sums up what Let ME Out!! is – what exactly it is we are striving to ‘let out’, how it‘s connected to creativity, authenticity and kindness, and the importance of recognizing and valuing our relationship with that limitless pool of potential.