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  • Writer's pictureRishika

Stress reduction for the Apocalypse

Hands holding a mala.
When in doubt, offer it up for healing.

(Reposting from my latest — and very occasional — newsletter The Seer, which you can subscribe to here. Just put “subscribe” in the subject field.)

Just kidding about the Apocalypse part, but things are pretty tense about now.

As you're no doubt aware, our planet's energy is heavy with the weight of multiple, seemingly intractable crises right now, and lockdown -- which continues for many of us -- has deprived us of the community we may have relied upon previously to sustain us through difficult times. As someone who lives alone and has worked with layers of solitude as part of my sadhana, I want to share a few resources and practices that you may find helpful in difficult times:

  • First, may I recommend the Buddhist practice of tonglen. I first learned of it from Pema Chodron's excellent book, "When Things Fall Apart” (itself an excellent resource). Tonglen means that when you are in deep suffering, instead of trying to change or remove it, you offer up fierce love on behalf of all other Beings in the world who are experiencing that exact same kind of suffering. Because we are all One Consciousness, interconnected, that love is automatically returned to you (and it gets you out of your ego, which in itself can be a great relief). 

  • If you are feeling troubled by the political chaos in the U.S., I've recently published a free 13-minute meditation on Insight Timer called "Meditation to Heal a Country." Again relying on the principle of One Consciousness, it guides us to heal the division and strife in our own hearts on behalf of our fellow citizens. This meditation, like my others, also features a dreamy soundtrack tuned to the frequency of Om (432 Hz, if you're curious).

  • Return over and over again to the present moment. We create suffering for ourselves by imagining a future that may or may not come to pass, but Reality only unfolds in the present. The present moment is your safe harbor. Take a deep breath, notice whatever your mind is busy obsessing with, and just set those thoughts down. Just for the moment. Feel the air on your skin, the weight of your feet on the Earth. Listen to the ambient sound. Notice how when you redirect your attention to what's happening in this very moment, any anxiety will usually pass. Repeat as needed. :-)

  • Explore a feeling. I mean really explore it. It's a human tendency to avoid our uncomfortable feelings, to change or bury them by distracting ourselves with stories in our heads, endless experiences, numbing out, etc. But what happens if instead you surrender to and fully encounter them, without resistance? What if you ask yourself what really lives inside that fear, that resentment, that hurt, that jealousy? What does it want? I don't mean to go ahead and express, say, anger toward another person, but just to sit with it and inquire. Notice the energy ... its texture, its color or taste or vibration, if it has one. Ask: Why does this feel upsetting? Is the upset real, or based on a story that may or may not be true? Then dive deeper. Feel it in your heart and crack open that feeling as though it were an egg. What's inside? Be patient, and let it speak to you when it's ready. What you discover may not be what you expected, at all.

  • Would you like a spiritual friend to support and help guide your practice? I am available for spiritual chat.

  • I am always happy to send free distance Reiki to support any emotional, physical or energetic healing that you may be working with (this involves some simple procedural work with crystals on my end; nothing is required of you). Reiki is simply pure Life Force Energy, pure love. It is an Intelligent force that goes where it's needed for the highest good of all involved. If you'd like a "dose," just send me an email request. Offer never expires.

  • I can also do a complete, 45-minute remote Reiki session for you anywhere in the world (a great option during the pandemic) by appointment. This requires only that you make yourself comfortable in an appropriate space at the appointed time, similar to meditation. You'll receive full instructions upon booking. Interested? Just drop me an e-mail.

In-person yoga classes are still suspended for the moment, but I hope to see you on the mat again soon.


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