David James Lees, Guest
As we usher in the New Year I’d like to share with you a powerful spiritual coaching method and mindfulness meditation that will rebalance, harmonise and empower you for the year ahead.
A New Year Pause, Reflect and Review
This is the time of year when you traditionally pause, spend a few quiet moments reviewing the past twelve months and contemplate the year ahead by making your New Year resolutions.
This process can be very helpful and, if undertaken mindfully, mirrors a simple Taoist meditation technique that I use every day. A pause and review can be an invaluable way of connecting to your ‘Yin‘ spirit centre of authentic inner wisdom and insight, and the harmonious ‘Wu Wei’ balance of your Yin and Yang energy – this is the Way of the Tao.
Turning your attention inwards like this allows you to be more focused, creative and resourceful throughout the year. By pressing the ‘pause button’ and stepping back from the everyday busyness and immediacy of life all around you, you’ll be able to connect to a higher level of Qi and vibration within the Cosmos and tune into the abundance of positive energy and opportunities that are available to you.
I use this process as a powerful spiritual coaching method with many of my clients and I’d love to share and guide you through it now, so you too can benefit from it as you embark on the exciting year ahead.
A Taoist proverb says:
a journey of a 1,000 miles begins with a single step
… so try making this simple exercise your first little step in 2015!
It has the potential to energetically shift your life and signals to the Cosmos that you’re setting a positive intention (YI) for deeper self-nurturing and self-love, or what the Taoists call Ch’ang!
Meditation: The Yang Mind and Ego Illusion
Now, before we begin on this journey of inward reflection, I’d like you to be mindful of a common illusion that your human centred, Yang Mind may present you with, as this can seriously impact the success of this beautiful harmonising Wu Wei process…
Do you feel an internal resistance in any way to the concept or practice of meditation or mindfulness?
Perhaps you believe that is a religious or mystical practice that will somehow detrimentally affect your free-thinking or decision-making?
Well, if you buy into these misunderstandings you won’t even get off the starting blocks!
Scientists continue to measure the positive effects that meditation has on our mind, emotional patterns and general health and well-being. Meditation is a natural exercise that helps you gain a deeper awareness of your own inner wisdom, truth, life potential and the Oneness of your mind, body and spirit.
From this place of knowing you can begin to lovingly shape your own destiny, the Taoist teaching related to this is: “You can’t change what you don’t understand!”.
… Ok, so are you ready to begin?
The Taoist Mindfulness Meditation…
Step 1: Pause and Reflect
I’d like you to first find a quiet and safe place where you know you won’t be disturbed for the next 15 minutes or so. Have a pen and paper by your side so you can make some notes of anything that arises in your mind during this Taoist meditation exercise.
Now pause, drop your shoulders, breath deeply, slowly and rhythmically until your body begins to relax…. Taoist call this process ‘connecting to the quality of your breath’.
Close your eyes lightly… breath and relax…. Create space and allow the authentic Yin spirit centre and place of higher knowledge deep within you to open up.
Now allow your mind to begin to gently reflect on the past 12 months…
- What images, sounds, situations and emotions arise?
- What events or people enter your mind?
Let them to float in and out of your mindful awareness like clouds in a shifting sky…
Remember, you are now simply the observer…
The past is past… you have moved on from these events, good and bad, easy and challenging… and yet they may still hold valuable spiritual life lessons for you that require your love and attention.
You can spend 5 to 10 minutes like this….allowing your thoughts to come and go….
Step 2: Acknowledge and Affirm the Learning
Then, when you are ready to melt into the Oneness to ask yourself:
- ‘What has been my spiritual learning from the situations and challenges I have faced over the past 12 months?’
- ‘What have I learnt about my authentic spiritual truth and the nature of the Cosmos?’
Again, you can spend 5 to 10 minutes, allowing answers to these questions to arise from within your Yin spiritual centre… Always be truthful and honest.
Then, when you are ready to move onto the final stage of this reflective meditation, allow the images or thoughts to clear and settle again…
- ‘How can I use these lessons to help me connect to my authentic higher-self and my harmonious Wu Wei flow more often?’
- ‘What changes or ‘tweaks’ can I make in my life over the coming months so I can move closer to my divine potential?’
- ‘What can I now do NOW, each day, each week, or each month to allow me to live my authentic truth and stay on my Wu Wei path?’
It may that only be one insight or idea arises, but that single suggestion, no matter how undynamic or obscure it may seem at first, may actually be the valuable signpost for your spiritual Wu Wei journey during the year ahead….
Slowly repeat these affirmations to yourself…
- ‘Nothing in my life is by accident, I am open to receive the blessing.’
- ‘All things are possible, and are available to me right now.’
- ‘By creating space I’m attracting new exciting energy into my life.’
- ‘I choose a Tao spirit-centred life and emotional freedom.’
- ‘I am complete.’
Now, when you are ready, bring yourself slowly and gently back into the present moment…
Open your eyes and take time to adjust to your surroundings…
Take the opportunity to make a few brief notes of anything that was revealed during your meditation, no matter how insignificant.
Step 3: Sidestep the Yang-Mind/Ego to Reveal the Blessing
The point of this meditation exercise is for you to access authentic and honest insights and suggestions.
A Taoist proverb says:
‘You already know the answer to any problem you have.’
…so it’s really important for you to connect with your Yin spirit centre, the place of your higher-self, when moving though this self-inquiry process, rather than letting your Yang Mind rush in and taint your thinking by avoidance and confusion.
As part of this process of mindful review remember to become aware of your Yang mind’s measuring stick and harsh comparisons. Never let it critically underestimate and belittle your unique life journey or blame and condemn you or others for past events. Always remember: humans only learn by making mistakes
Know and accept with loving kindness that, if you’d been equipped with the appropriate knowledge, understanding and skills to authentically deal with any challenging situation or person at the time, you wouldn’t now be left with feelings of internal disharmony.
So embrace any lingering uncomfortable feelings of imbalance and the situations or people they are tied to for what they are: opportunities for personal and spiritual learning and growth.
Embrace your emotional feelings as ‘blessings’ and with an honest heart and mind ask yourself:
- ‘How could I have acted differently?’
The Taoist teaching here is that there is always a spiritual lesson for you in any challenging, difficult or painful energetic situation, or else you would have flowed through the energy of that moment in balance and harmony – in your Wu Wei.
The Yang mind loves taking the easy option of punishing you for past ‘mistakes’ or ‘wrong’ decisions, and this can be an all too familiar and comfortable form of self-harm that allows you to avoid facing up to and authentically learning from these situations.
Just like they were on some kind of Cosmic carousel, the same lessons will always return to you until they’re finally acknowleged and understood. It may be with different people or events but they are still the same lessons!!
So, as part of your mindful reflection and meditation please be particularly aware of these recurring life situations and any patterns of behaviour, where you find yourself emotionally avoiding certain people or situations.
This will always point to a misunderstanding and illusion in your belief system (or what the Taoists call TE). Unless corrected this misunderstanding will block and stagnate your potential and self-worth as well and your general wellbeing.
Practicing this simple meditation technique will help you become extremely skilful in identifying and processing your life lessons. Your senses will become heightened to the same kind of situations or people reappearing, and the misunderstandings in your thinking connected to the energy of these events will become clearer.
So sit with your emotions and your thoughts about these events until the spiritual lessons are learned.
Step 4: Celebrate Small Awakenings and Check for Spiritual Authenticity
As part of your mindful meditation it’s important to also spend an equal amount of time celebrating your positive insights and awakenings, as this will undoubtedly mean that you have encountered a challenging situation and navigated your way through successfully.
Acknowledging these milestones is an energetic way of attracting more of the same success. This is what the Taoist call, Yi Tao Qi Tao, or in modern terms The Law of Attraction.
Once you have written down some review notes, here are some more questions you can use to interrogate them and check their spiritual authenticity:
- ‘Are my observations of the past and my plans and goals for the year ahead coming from a spirit centred place of love, trust, openness, self-acceptance and self-nurturing, or are they born from a Yang mind place of fear, self-doubt, comparing with others, and self-harm?’
- ‘Would I encourage my child or someone I loved dearly to adopt these observations, goals and aspirations for themselves?’
If you need to make any further notes or adjustments to your original observations and ideas please do so now.
Step 5: Develop the Mindfulness Habit
With the benefit of having gone through this mindful meditation process once, I strongly recommend that you revisit the whole exercise again, or indeed several times, whenever feels appropriate to you. Never break promises to yourself.
Each time you enter into this process you will move closer to, and strengthen the connection with, your authentic spiritual awareness and learning. Your human centred Yang Mind will begin to feel more familiar and so more comfortable and safer with the process.
The Yang Mind sees familiarity as reality, so the layers of your illusions and misunderstandings will slowly begin to peel away revealing your spiritual truth within.
You can use this process whenever you like – don’t limit yourself to a 12 month review. Habits are so hard to break, so make sure your habits are good ones!
By developing a regular practice of ‘checking in’ with yourself and the Universe through mindful meditation and contemplation, say, every day, week or month, you give yourself the gift of celebrating the smaller accomplishments and realisations in your life.
You’ll also tune into and heighten your awareness of all the positive opportunities, people, information and occurrences that are in your life right at that moment and how they may align with your biggest objectives or dreams.
Following this process on a regular basis will bring profound and life changing results for you as you become more sensitive to your love and truth, not your fears and illusions .
I believe in you. You are amazing…
You can listen to my New Year teaching and guided meditation here:
If the audio player above does not work you can also listen here.
Wishing you a wonderful year ahead!
Yi Tao Qi Tao,
About the Author
David James Lees is a spirituality and wellness author, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner, counsellor, hypnotherapist, NLP Master, and a Member of the British Acupuncture Council. David has a lifelong interest in Taoism, Taoist philosophy and Qigong, and was first taught meditation by Chinese Tibetan Buddhist monks when he was 16 years old, which helped him tackle a profound stutter. After qualifying as a TCM practitioner in the UK, David trained for a number of years as a Qigong instructor with Doctor Shen in London and Master Wan Su Jain in Beijing, and was later ordained as a Taoist Master in the sacred Wudang Mountains in China. Today, David is a trusted advisor and broadcaster on emotional health issues and alternative therapies in the UK. You can follow David on his blog: www.WuWeiWisdom.com, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Soundcloud. For the latest information on David’s therapies, classes, workshops and special events visit Peak House Practice.
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