I cannot imagine my life without meditation being the top priority, because it is those moments of bliss that feed every aspect of my life. Sometimes I laugh when my students say, “I tried to meditate but I couldn’t find the time.” Well, of course you couldn’t, because if you don’t make quieting your mind the first step, how can you prioritize the rest of your day?

Most of the time, we don’t take the time to be still because we allow our personalities (the mind’s ambitious drama) to run the show. It's easy to become addicted to the ups and downs of our emotions and to feel deserving of that rollercoaster ride. It has been my delight to develop all kinds of inner work to alleviate the suffering caused by the mind. Of course, the key to allowing these meditations to work for you is practice. Once you feel the magic, you will want to practice and surrender every day! Meditation helps you focus, renews your energy, heals chronic pain, eases you into sleep and detaches you from limited thinking. And perhaps most importantly, it opens you to your eternal spirit, the one that has no beginning and no end.

One of the truly amazing moments of my life occurred in 1987 when I was at a retreat with Zen Buddhist Monk, Thich Nhat Hanh. It was 5:00 a.m. and there were 500 of us walking in a meditative state in the morning light. Thich Nhat Hanh walked a little above us on a stage. He was so graceful and sure of his intention, “Imprinting peace upon the earth,” as he would say. One of his nuns came to me and two others and asked us to join “Thay” on the stage and walk with him. I was terrified and filled with feelings of unworthiness, but up I went. I cannot express what my spirit felt when my bare feet touched down on his warm footprints. Surely this was the one of the most healing moments of my life. Later I was given the name “Inner Peace of the Heart.” I vowed to make that journey my quest.

It was also on that morning that I learned about imprinting my prayers for the world into the grids of the earth. By slowing my breath and envisioning each step carrying the light of the universe, I could see love and compassion spreading in all directions. I envisioned the continents filling with this light, along with the oceans, mountains, and great forests. I saw the vibrations of peace moving easily into the global consciousness. With that came a healing in me that moved me from helplessness to empowerment. As I allowed that universal healing light to flood through me, I felt deeply honored to be a part of the journey on this planet.

Now, so many years later, I walk in my living room, releasing the stresses of the day and invoking the healing light to come through me once more. It is so easy, and it’s the part of my day that I treasure the most.

There are so many ways to let go and meditate. Come and learn! When the light moves through you, you connect with the vastness of who you are. It is delicious, blissful, and you get to become a caretaker of the earth in a very creative, imaginative way. And of course, inviting your guides and teachers to walk with you is particularly profound. I always feel my beloved Quan Yin’s tender footsteps next to mine and hear her gentle whispering, “Come closer…closer still....”

My wish for you is to see your life as a living prayer of love and kindness. Make everything you do a prayer of gratitude. For instance, when you cut carrots acknowledge your gratitude by saying, “Thank you, universe, for these delicious carrots.” When you take a shower pay homage to the water by saying something like, “Thank you for this clear, clean water. May every living thing be blessed with enough water to bathe, drink, eat, nourish, sow.” Be creative! You will be surprised by the amazing inspiration that moves through you!

Most of all, remember to make every breath a prayer and each moment as still as an altar filled with support and foundation. Just close your eyes and "be" the prayer.

May your meditations and prayers inspire you to reside forever in peace. Amen.

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