Sunday, 5 January 2014

Awareness and Authenticity

My winter retreat was a settling into daily rhythms of stillness and movement here on the edge of Ards Forest. There was letting go and then letting go some more. Walking in the forest each day was delightful as distractions faded and senses awakened.

A happy realisation was that I don't have many expectations for my retreats these days. I am just present to whatever healing needs to occur.

In my first few years of meditation I was very interested in becoming something different to what I was. I was suffering so much that all I wanted was for it to change. And it did. Year after year, retreat after retreat, I let go and let go of layer upon layer of stress, tension and worry. It was wonderful and opened me up to lots of bliss and ease.

In the back of my mind, though, there was a growing idealised version of what I would become. I would arrive at a place where nothing would ever phase me and everyone I encountered would be wowed at my stillness.

With time it became clear that this 'idealised me' was a creation of my inner critic mixed with cultural ideals of what a 'spiritual' person should look like. It was just a pile of outdated judgements, pointings towards becoming something other than what I was, moment to moment. I needed to let it go too.

It has been a relief to move away from striving towards a goal to being inner directed

Mindfulness is a state in which we allow ourselves to discover who we authentically are. What we find is sometimes surprising, often challenging and always changing. 

For 5 years I didn't go out socialising, I didn't dance or sing and rarely laughed. This was my authentic reality then. I meditated and kept focussed on stillness.

Later, when I started to feel like dancing and celebrating, the idealised-me was horrified. This didn't fit with the goal. But in order for me to be authentic I had to shed the old skin and grow into the next.

Any time we hold on to an idea of who we want to be it is at the expense of who we can become. Having loving aspirations for ourselves is helpful but we never know exactly how they will manifest.

Living this way there is no guarantee of an easy ride but, curiously, there is an ease that grows when there are no more expectations. We just do what we need to do, be where we are and it all takes care of itself. We are now going with the flow.

As we enter this New Year may we allow ourselves to change, to grow, into whatever this year brings. Trusting that all will be well.

Starting week of January 6th 2014

Weekly Drop-in Classes:
The Pastoral Centre, Letterkenny
10 - 11 am
7 - 8 pm

Holy Trinity Church Hall, Dunfanaghy

7 - 8 pm


4 week Course for Teachers
Donegal Town
Starts Thursday 30th January 7 - 9 pm
Book through Donegal Education Centre only

Weekend Retreats 2014  
Ards Friary, Co Donegal
  1. 28 Feb - 2 Mar
  2. 22 - 24 Aug
  3. 14 - 16 Nov

Benburb Priory, Co Tyrone
  1. 28 - 30 Mar (booking opens this week - note Sterling rates)


Mindfulness One-to-Ones, Main St. Letterkenny

  Radiate out your Love! ☼

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