How do we maintain our peace amidst the chaos of making school lunches and nagging lazy teenagers? How do we nurture our latent talent and connect to our authentic self amidst the rush hour traffic? How do we deal with endless demands without losing our mind?
And how often are we really our own best enemy by doing things that are hurtful or harmful to ourselves? How many times a day do we put ourselves down, reaffirm our hopelessness, dislike our appearance, or see ourselves as incompetent or unworthy? How much resentment, guilt, or shame are we holding on to, thus perpetuating negativity?
Being our own best friend is being tender and gentle when we fail, or picking ourselves up each time we fall, being kind when mistakes are made. It means no more self-judgment; it means we can be ourselves without embarrassment. When we make friends with ourselves then we can accept all the physical lumps and bumps, the psychological and emotional colors, textures, shapes and patterns, as these are testament to the journey we have taken to get where we are now.
So our primary responsibility has to be to care for ourselves first. This may appear selfish, considering our lives are focused on serving others. But we can’t be of any real use to anyone if we’re coming from a stressed or uptight place, so honoring our own needs is actually the most unselfish thing we could do.
As little as 5-10 minutes of relaxation or meditation each day is enough to ease stress and give us the fertile ground for greater acceptance, understanding and inner peace. While stress eats away at our sanity and sleep, creating fatigue, mistakes, burnout and breakdown, so meditation deepens our awareness, clears and de-stresses the mind, giving us greater insight and perspective. It encourages mindful awareness, which leads to more coping capacity. It improves listening skills, which enhances communication. And it gives us the resources whereby we can be of genuine help to others.
Not bad for something that is free, takes little time, and leaves us feeling wonderful!
Almost everything we do in life is to achieve something: if we do this, then we will get that; if we do that, then this will happen. But in meditation there’s no ulterior purpose no trying to get anywhere or do anything. Even trying to have a quiet mind will create tension and failure.
Instead, we’re just with whatever is happening, with no judgment, no right or wrong. If we’re thinking, then enjoy the thinking. Watching whatever arises and letting it go is all that’s required. It’s more of an undoing than a doing.
Meditation simply asks that we pay attention, that we make friends with being quiet and sitting still. This is a space just for us to be with ourselves, to remember who we really are. In this quiet space we become our own best friend and, therefore, a better friend to all.
“I meditate so that I can be a kinder and saner human being in the world. It keeps me out of trouble with myself or with others, and allows me to be the caring person that I really want to be,” says voice teacher Vickie Dodd in Be The Change. “I have always viewed meditation as a very practical ingredient in my life. I need meditation in order to be a human being that can walk with sensitivity and generosity.”