Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Déja vú of spiritual awakening
Two schools of meditation: Which one to prefer?
If you're following me (@writer_anne) on Twitter you may know that I subscribed last month to Deepak Chopra's 21-Day Meditation Challenge Creating Abundance. Yes, but before that I was already subscribed to Rhonda Jones's Christian meditation which is quite different. Both concepts practise similar techniques of basically sitting comfortably and inhaling and exhaling in control. I felt that my Christian meditation and Chopra's meditation had different motives and that's why I felt myself at first really uncomfortable with the 21-Day Meditation Challenge. Having to hold my fingers in yoga mudra and using Sanskrit mantras made me feel separated from Jesus Christ. For some reason giving up on yoga mudra and holding my palms open on my lap during the sessions helped me to feel that I did no wrong, that I didn't worship other gods. Remembering the motives of my blog I want to highlight though that my wrong might be somebody else's right: If you're a Hindu or Buddhist so be it, it's your heart's choice and your path.
I feel that Deepak Chopra's meditation was highly based on Hinduism though he highlighted on OWN's Super Soul Sunday (probably my favourite TV programme) that during meditation we're in alignment with One God. I think he meant that all religions believe in the same God so it doesn't matter whether you're a Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, secular etc. - you can meditate. Actually, when I was going through Chopra's meditation classes I had an a-ha moment: Those teachings were so similar to what I've learned from The Bible! The Law of Karma actually equals to the teaching of Jesus, The Golden Rule of "doing to others what you want to be done to yourself." My second a-ha moment was that Chopra taught the same lesson of Giving that I've already learned from the Bible. But as I mentioned above I also experienced similar spiritual awakening and healing as I did through the Bible and prayer through both schools of meditation. I'm not all sure if I'd do 21-Day Meditation Challenge again but I'll definitely continue with Christian meditation which I prefer. But I'd definitely recommend Deepak Chopra's meditation for secular readers because it has little do with religion unlike Rhonda Jones's Christian meditation which is Scripture based.
Both 21-Day Meditation Challenge Creating Abundance and Christian meditation have had similar influence on my character. I actually feel that after doing the Meditation Challenge it has deepened my experience of Christian meditation and supported it (I already gave reasons above why it is so). I also forgot to mention that both meditation schools are about preventing your negative thoughts and negativity in your life. So meditation has improved my self-esteem pretty much though I still feel that I'm a work in progress. The most of my following outtakes (by Italics) are from my personal 21-Day Meditation Challenge Journal that I and other participants updated during the challenge:
Abundance means to me spiritual and earthy treasures. It means a content, bliss, purposeful life. It means that I'm in God's caring embrace and He takes care of all my needs. Abundance means to me the principle of UNIVERSAL LOVE: first loving God, then yourself and finally the whole wide world including people of all nationalities, nature and animals. Abundance means reaching peace within yourself and the whole universe. Abundance means living your life to the fullest. I personally see The Holy Trinity as my source of abundance.
I also realized that in order to myself to be able to reach full abundance in life I should pursue balance between helping myself and helping others. My closest family and friends know that I usually prefer putting their needs and desires ahead of my own. This means that I can be so loyal, reliable and generous to everyone else but not to myself and the ugly truth is that I live in self-deceit until being courageous enough to fix the situation. It's a vicious circle because I consider helping others my highest, most noble goal in life and so it gives me pleasure. When I was an atheist young girl the situation was opposite: I had so much vain stuff and toys in my room but I didn't like sharing them; Christianity changed me in 2007 and ever since I've felt guilt if I don't give the best that I've got.
My another problem has been that I tend to let others define myself. I just graduated from high school's adult degree with support of my family because I needed their help to overcome my Maths learning difficulty and so pass. I anyway got pretty good papers because I'm doing well in the most of the subjects. I have been down since summer 2010 because I can't forget how the career psychology doomed my ability to get employed and study what I dream about. The friends who've known me way before that appointment know that before that I had so much faith and ambition in my dreams despite the learning difficulty but the conversation totally crushed me. During the past year it has crushed me even for more to hear my boyfriend define me "sick" and some other definitions that are too strong to be written in this blog. I felt like I lost myself in summer 2010 because ever since I've let others define me and so little by little I ended up in the situation that I lost my voice. The thing is that I was insecure already before that appointment but before this occurred I at least had enough self-respect to not to give up on my dreams and I've been working for them since 2001. My heart says that I belong to university to study social sciences or languages or Literature. My dream jobs include a magazine editor and a freelancer author. My heart says different things than the others who have made me feel inferior: Deep inside I'm still the same positive, ambitious and pretty outgoing person who sees beauty everywhere in life and is sensitive enough to listen to her heart. Actually, the reason why I started meditating in the first place was that I wanted to find again connection to myself. I wanted to find again that positive persona that was crushed by others.
Doubtful and fearful decisions haven't brought anything stable and secure into my life. If I listen to my ego it only brings more negativity into my life. I should listen to my positive True Self in order to fix my life so that I could be strong and confident. Insecurity doesn't help me at all. I can become more aware of my choices by thinking about my motivations behind them. If fear and doubt (= My Everyday Self) are driving me into these choices they're wrong ones. If My True Self is driving me into these choices they're most likely right ones. My True Self wants to achieve and experience wonderful, amazing things but My Everyday Self is holding me back.
I'm going to compare my meditation experience to rebirth of a phoenix. For 2 years I've been "dead" in the ashes. I've literally felt myself dead spiritually (not physically!) because I haven't been connected to My True Self. I even was ready to die for a while ago because someone made me feel so worthless. The shocking confession is that I've never been as low, not even when I was depressed in 2007 and wanted to self-destruct. In 2007 I was saved because I chose God. This year I was saved because the one who made me feel so worthless brought me back to my consciousness. Yes, I was that low but because I'm still writing here about my passions in life I haven't given up. The 21-Day Meditation Challenge helped me to find My True Self again and so I feel myself reborn in the same way as I did during my conversion in 2007. In 2007 I felt myself beautiful inside and out, I adopted new Christian worldview and principles in life and I realized my full potential once again and I took on great opportunities (travelling to Italy with the Red Cross). Now my dreams have wings once again and so I'm like a reborn phoenix because I'm no longer spiritually sleeping or dead.
I just can't imagine myself living in any another way than writing and pursuing to make a social difference. I actually would like to register my non-profit because I could but there is no non-profit without contacts and that's the biggest obstacle on the way of realizing this dream right now. I figured that such dreams as publishing books and studying in university may sound selfish but they after all aren't because my whole family could benefit of my success financially. Also, when it comes to my newest dream of founding a non-profit it actually would benefit more others than myself if I could make it really work. I also had an a-ha moment with 21-Day Meditation on coincidences: Until summer 2010 I had a huge sense of purposefulness, that I truly knew where I was going. It means that I believed in destiny, that there are no coincidences. Everything is related to everything. Deepak Chopra returned my faith in destiny as well.
Meditation will help me to reach my full potential by widening my mind's horizon and by little by little changing my perspective and outlook on life. It will help me to realize that my mind is my biggest enemy though it could be my best friend. I'm only as good as my thoughts. If my thoughts are negative I'll call more negative things into my life. If I think positively I'll call more positive things into my life. I learned this philosophy already from Rhonda Byrne's book and movie "The Secret" but today's sermon on 'I am' statements by pastor Joel Osteen empowered my concept on this. Meditation helps me to realize the power of my thoughts and how they influence my life. Learning to understand the power of my thoughts will lead me to reach my full potential.
I'll continue to use during my Christian meditation practice what I learned.