by Ray Jolicoeur, Founder at renoo & Certified Meditation Teacher
It is often the first step on any journey that is the hardest to take. How many times have you stared at a blank page, snoozed your alarm clock, or put off that trip you’ve been dreaming of simply because the prospect of what comes afterwards is intimidating? Bettering our lives, our minds, and even our spirits is one of the greatest journeys of all, and, as a result, it can bring with it one of the most intimidating first steps of our lives. It can truly be scary. Thankfully, the first step is easier than it might seem: Simply sit, and create space within yourself.
As our lives become more crowded with information and opportunities, it can be easy to lose track of ourselves and our TRUE nature. What’s more is that our society seems to continually increase the pressure to succeed and impose external measures by which to judgeourselves, which can mean that our hearts and minds can become crowded with ideas, quantities, and desires that are not truly ours.
Creating space within yourself means pushing some of those unnecessary external factors out and letting your heart fill with your own thoughts and emotions. And valuing this as a gift we all have and that is so precious. It means recognizing that prioritizing your own time, thoughts, feelings and internal spaces is not a selfish act but is rather an act of kindness towards the self.
Many parts of our life demand our attention and our energy. Work, children, friends, family, and even social groups like clubs or sports can all place demand on us. If unbalanced, it can result in us being cruel or hard on ourselves, simply because we feel we should be able to meet every demand without question. And when we don’t, which is almost unavoidable, we either feel great sadness, or we redouble the cruelty, with the view that the harder we are on ourselves, the happier we will be. How weird is that? Would we treat any friend like this?
By creating space for ourselves in our own hearts and minds, we guarantee that we have a place that is devoted to resting, to healing, and to self-kindness. Internal space through the practice of meditation gives us the ability to experience our life, our desires, our emotions, our opinions, and our stressors on our own terms, without being influenced by sources outside of the self in the moment. That space within ourselves is essential to living the life that suits us best.
Imagine being given a task that you didn’t have the tools, the skills, or the desire to undertake. You would probably find yourself unhappy or stressed. Most everyone would feel that way. In the same way, living a life that doesn’t match your deepest needs and dreams will also make you feel stressed or unhappy, and you can’t identify those needs, goals, and desires without giving yourself the mental space to do so.
Well-being is firstly about learning how to show deep kindness to yourself. And this can start on your meditation cushion. By establishing your own home meditation practice. It is about showing love towards yourself instead of punishment or hatred. And showing compassion towards yourself is the very first step to developing this ability to show compassion to all beings. Once you create the space within through a regular meditation practice, you can begin to explore the functioning of your own mind. And, in time, you can come to be more kind to both yourself and the people around you - even more than you had ever thought possible. #createspacewithinPhoto credit: Ray Jolicoeur