The spring is a time for awakening our true selves. For me, being open to the journey of authentic living is my path’s deepest intention. As a mindfulness-based psychotherapist and Buddhist woman in this world, I feel a deep sense of connection to continue the Bodhisattva path of cultivating an inner life of moment-to-moment awakening. To look within takes courage and we should be more afraid of avoiding our inner path than walking on it.
Shifting From External to Internal
As modern day humans, we experience endless pressure to do more with less, striving towards perfection. In a society that privileges physical beauty, it’s easy to get caught up in the rat race of striving for external perfection. Our emphasis is on external consciousness opposed to the richness of an inner life. Become aware of your default modes of comparing yourself with others and witness this self-talk with genuine curiosity. to discover the balance of your inner beauty. Mindfulness is the gateway into the temple of your inner beauty.
Practicing mindfulness can create a greater sense of inner peace, emotional balance and joy by being awakened to how our inner and outer lives unfold moment-to-moment. We must attend to our emotional tones, thought patterns and body sensations with commitment. It’s through this attention that we expand the sacred container of our minds, bodies and hearts to hold the ebb and flow of our lives. This capacity is the beauty of true balance.
Here’s how! Excavate your inner balance with these 3 mindful strategies:
1. Detox From Social Media
Let’s face it, social media is a breeding ground for envy, jealousy and resentment. The incessant social comparison we engage in while scanning our Facebook feeds stunts our capacity to be in the present moment with ourselves.
When you feel the urge to grab that IPhone while waiting to check-out at the grocery store, pause to notice your thoughts, feelings and body sensations. Mindfully ride that impulsive wave, acknowledging it without reacting. To acknowledge and honor the urge frees up space to choose an intentional response. For example, taking 5 deep breaths into your belly instead of reactively scrolling your Twitter feed. Technology is all around us and it’s not going away so use it as an opportunity to cultivate mindful awareness.
2. Find Your Mantra
Mantra is a Sanskrit word meaning “sacred utterance” that is repeated in meditation. Choose a word or phrase that holds meaning to you in your life. It’s a new year which means it’s a new opportunity to align with your heart’s deepest intentions. As yourself, how do I want to walk through this world? Allow your mantra to be words of affirmation that you use throughout your year – and in years to come!
When you repeat your personal mantra out loud, allow the vibrational quality to penetrate your heartspace. When you surrender to a mantra, you allow it to wash over you in the present moment. As you rest in pure awareness of your here-and-now experience, you become grounded in your true essence. In these mantra moments, you’re not trying to be anyone or anything else, but rather, you’re journeying back home to the refuge of your inner being. This inner space between the turbulence of our thoughts is the bedrock of emotional freedom.
Mantra can be a powerful portal to this untethered liberation from day-to-day stress and perpetual busyness, helping us reclaim the balance waiting within.
3. Keep a Heart Buddha Smile
Happiness is a a human being’s greatest accessory. When we smile from the inside out, beauty radiates from our heartspace and people gravitate towards us. Imagine the bright, radiating sun on a stormy day. Although grey and ominous clouds blanket the sky, the sun continues to reside behind the clouds, emanating with warmth. Imagine your heart as the radiant sun and the clouds as stress, insecurity and self-destructive thoughts. When our hearts are clouded, our inner light feels dim and it becomes difficult to connect with ourselves and others.
Practice keeping a half buddha smile while sitting on your meditation cushion, during your yoga practice or even sitting at your work desk. Notice how your heart responds when you smile – do you feel a sense of warmth? Tingling? Open-ness?
When you make heart softening a daily practice, it awakens the natural capacities of the heart to give and receive loving kindness and compassion. Through the journey of my own heart opening meditations, my body, heart and mind feel more loving towards myself and the world. I’ve realized that this inner Bodhisattva of balance sits on a throne of both darkness and light. Our courage to turn toward both is the very spiritual serum that nourishes a balanced inner self.
With a committed intention to cultivate mindful awareness, you can begin living your own best, beautiful life from moment-to-moment.