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Perseverance – staying in the Zen, no matter what

Refocus every time you breath.
Refocus every time you breath.
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OK, so you’re sitting in your comfortable (but not too comfortable) chair with eyes closed and focusing on centering your attention on whatever specific phrase you use to meditate and pray. Fairly soon you find yourself having to keep dragging your mind back from thinking about everything else but meditation and having to center yourself all over again. Of course, this goes on for a while until, eventually, your thoughts quiet down and you feel the outside world move away for a while. At least, that’s how you’ve experienced meditation most of the time. But, what about those times when no matter what you do, your thoughts decide to run around like an out of control 2 year old? You find yourself constantly reining in your thoughts only to find that, once again, your thoughts have taken a new direction. It’s now been an hour and you’re beginning to feel a bit worn out, trying in vain to get your mind to chill out and give you at least some time to focus and meditate. You find yourself making deals with it; if it would leave you alone for 30 minutes only, you would let it think at much as it wants after that. Soon you find yourself asking for only the next 5 minutes. And then the time you have allotted for meditating is now up and you must get up and go about your day, feeling a bit exhausted and not even close to feeling inner peace!

Thank goodness each day is usually different from the next and there are times that sitting to meditate is pure bliss and leaves you feeling recharged, fulfilled and much more kindly disposed towards others and the world in general. Everyone deals with “those days” differently, or course. But however you make it through them, it’s good to remember that any time spent in meditation and prayer is part of your spiritual growth and actually helps make your stronger in the long run. Sometimes it’s just comparing how you used to feel about your life to how you feel now that can help you realize how far you have really come on your journey to enlightenment and merging into the inner spiritual nexus. One of the ways to keep from getting too frustrated and feeling like no progress has been made at all can be to remember all the wonderful meditations you have had and especially how they made you feel. If your mind is going to think about something anyway, it might as well be the best meditations you have had. It may be a variation on that old adage of counting your blessings, but it means just as much and even more whether we realize it or not. Another good practice for coping with those ‘spinning your wheels’ times can be to remember the reason you are sitting to meditate in the first place and the teachings that rang with such truth to you in the beginning and that helped you tune in to your inner higher self and oh so much more.

So, whenever you find yourself in that restless and frustrating state during meditation, try not to focus on what’s not apparent and remember that you will very likely have a completely different experience next time. You never know how close you are to breaking through into inner bliss until you are there!