Do you know anyone who worries a lot, is fearful, or depressed? Of course, you do. Well, this short blog could help them immensely.
Michael A. Singer, the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling book, The Untethered Soul, begins the introduction with a quote from Act I of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Polonius advises his son Laertes – This above all: to thine own self be true.
Singer then asks a thoughtful question, “To which self are we to be true to?” Is it the anxious one inside, the angry self, the humble wise self, or the moody depressed self? That leads to another question – Who are you really?
The insights gained from the answers can be transformative. They make life worth living. It certainly worked that way in my life. Let me explain.
Hope and a Wise Seagull
Have you read Richard Bach’s classic, Jonathan Livingston Seagull? Jonathan was different from his seagull peers. They sit by and in the ocean, and fly to forage for food. This is their daily life. For Jonathan, that lifestyle was not nearly enough, he felt called to be an aviator. Nothing less would satisfy him. While the others looked for food, he performed experimental aerial maneuvers with delightful abandon. Jonathan had passion for flight itself. The other gulls thought he was crazy.
When I read this book over 40 years ago, a light went on. I resonated with Jonathan. I recall lamenting to a friend that it was a shame that humans don’t experience the enthusiasm that Jonathan had for his life. You see, at the time, my life was upside down in turmoil. When I graduated from college three years earlier with a degree in engineering, I was twenty-two years old and in a hurry. Naively, I thought that getting married, moving across the country, and starting a new career would bring me fulfillment and happiness. Well, these high hopes were dashed in just a couple years.
My new career was filled with frustration and boredom, and more significantly, my young wife died tragically. I was numb and lost, going through the motions of living with little direction or purpose. In those days, I was living for a paycheck at week’s end much like the seagulls were living to eat. Like Jonathan Livingston Seagull, it was not enough for me.
Enter the Higher Self
Fortunately, there was a ray of light on the horizon. One evening after another stressful workday, a dear friend casually invited me to accompany him to an introductory lecture about meditation held at his workplace. Although I knew little about it, I chose to attend.
It was a warm August evening, and the presenter quickly got my attention when he declared, “there is something missing in most people’s lives! What’s missing is inside, it’s not out there in the world,” he said. Boldly, he said that if we release our inner potential with the meditation practice he was teaching, we will experience a transformation, and everything in our life will improve – our mental, physical and spiritual health, even relationships.
Thinking that I had nothing to lose, and hopeful that this would help, I decided to take the plunge and learn to meditate. If 50% of what he said would come true, I thought “this will be great.” As it turned out, I could not have asked for more than what followed.
About two hours after my initial class, where I meditated for the first time, I found myself spontaneously skipping through a sandwich shop on the way to the cash register to pay for my lunch. I was euphoric, and didn’t know why. Though, I quietly wondered whether meditation had something to do with this delightful feeling.
In the days that followed I adhered to my meditation instructor’s advice. I did a short meditation before work in the morning and another after work in the afternoon. Within a few weeks, there was a shift in my life. Driving to work in the morning, I was wide awake and feeling good – this was new for me! By the afternoon at work, I was looking forward to another short meditation when I got home. I knew that my evening would be more enjoyable after meditating.
My energy level and enthusiasm grew. Soon, I started reading self-help books and exploring my areas of interest more deeply. Life was good again. I was so much happier.
It seemed the teacher’s comment in the introduction class was correct, there had been something missing in my life – energy, vitality, and well-being. He explained that these are qualities of our true or Higher Self – that I was now experiencing in every meditation. Thankfully, these attributes were now growing in my life after my meditation was over.
Don’t we all yearn for a richer, more meaningful, happier, and creative life? Amazingly, these are just a few of the benefits of Effortless Meditation™ practice. The way I see it, these are fundamental needs of our time.
In fact, if Shakespeare wrote Hamlet today rather than in 1599, Polonius’ directive to his son, Laertes may be: This above all: To thine own Higher Self be true – Meditate. Try it and your life will blossom in ways you may have never thought possible.
Greg Schweitzer, MBA, D.Ay
Stress Reduction Resources, Director