• 116th International Peace Meditation “Establishing the Connection”

    “Establishing the Connection”

    August 6, 2006-The practice of meditation is a form of deep connection with that part of our self generally unavailable at the conscious level. People often say to me that they can’t meditate. What they often mean is that they cannot settle their minds until they feel something, whatever it is, that they expect to feel. My general response is to simply, “show up.” In other words, find a quiet place, try to put aside all thoughts, and consciously allow your body and mind to relax. Release any expectations, as meditation for one person may be quite different than for another. Meditation may also be different each time one meditates. Therefore, the spiritual sojourner has one responsibility: to show up for meditation, and then let go, and allow what happens to happen.

    Prayer requires some mental control. Here one may follow the specific religious structure and teaching one has learned. Prayer may include specific requests, such as for those who are ill, injured, or in emotional pain, or broader requests such as for peace between and among countries, and for the leadership of those countries. Meditation is about losing control. It is about releasing one’s need to control in order to be open to receive new information. This new information may take the form of confidence about a decision, peace in the midst of chaos, or relief from emotional or physical pain.

    The person who regularly meditates may learn incrementally about her/his life journey. New realizations about what one needs to do; new understandings about oneself and others; and new awareness or consciousness about people and situations are often gained. These new realizations may be a sense of deep knowing, or manifest as thoughts or images. One does not control what comes; one receives what is made known. New information allows one to take the next step in one’s own spiritual journey.

    It is often said that ‘practice makes perfect.’ In the case of Meditation, “perfect makes practice”. In other words, what one needs to know already exists, and becomes known. Receiving information comes with practice. The practice of meditation may include strategies for relaxing the body, strategies for soothing and calming the mind, or mantras or pictures to focus the mind. But these are only strategies. There are many ways to close out the outside world and open up the inside world, but what comes to each person is unique to that person’s need. And that need may not be a conscious need, but a need, nonetheless.

    Opening to meditation is opening to a universe within a universe. In other words, it is opening to an internal universe from which information necessary to optimal functioning in the world resides. Deep creativity resides here. Writers who experience a block can learn to access this creativity. Artists and musicians can take their art form to new levels. Leadership can be strengthened, and fear can be removed. Strength of character can come from this well of energy. Opening to the inner universe is an inside job-a job of meditation.

    Religious beliefs are based upon faith that what we have been taught is true. Religions are based upon traditions that have been handed down for generations. These traditions have stories that have been handed down. The child is taught how to be a member of a religion by learning the stories and practicing the traditions. Often these traditions speak of morality and give guidelines for living within the norm of that religion. In other words, to be a good Jew, Christian, Muslim, or Hindu, means that certain behaviors are expected. Therefore, religion provides traditions, stories, and guides for approved behavior.

    Meditation, by contrast, provides experience. Some people talk about their experiences, and at times others may aspire to similar experiences. Yet meditation opens one to one’s own experience. That experience may have some characteristics in common with others, such as enhanced creative expression or images. But the real value of the experience is unique to the individual. It is important not to compete with others. It is important not to judge one’s own experience of meditation as better than, or falling short of, the experiences of others. It is important to “show up” and wait for those wonderful moments. Sometimes we become lost in meditation and realize that several minutes have transpired for which we had no awareness. Sometimes we meditate and come to a moment of intense silence or feeling of nothingness, which is fulfilling and worth all of the time it took to get to that space. At other times, we may gain a sense of serenity that helps us avoid becoming stressed by the actions of others. Being calm in the midst of chaos, external or internal, is a wonderful benefit of meditation.

    One can justify meditation for it’s 1.) Proven health benefits of controlling stress reactions; 2.) Deeper experiences of creativity; or 3.) Guidance for the one on a conscious spiritual path. But meditation needs no justification. It just is. It is a universe within a universe that is accessed by the mind. The one who meditates simply shows up regularly, quiets the mind, and waits to receive. Its effects can be life changing.

    When you begin to meditate, consider yourself a student. When you have meditated for many years, consider yourself a student. There is always more to learn. There is always another step to take on your journey. Simply “show up,” and don’t worry about doing it “right.” It is not right or wrong; it simply is. It is a challenge in our culture to stop doing, and start being. Meditation is about being. It is about being in a receptive state of mind where deeper understanding resides. It is that deeper understanding, when accessed, that gives us the strength of Knowing, rather than thinking. It is Knowing that takes us in the right direction for our lives. It is Knowing that helps us to recognize sincerity from manipulation. It is Knowing that causes us to join with the right people, and keeps us from those who would harm us. It is Knowing that leads us onto our spiritual path, and keeps us there.

    Meditation is not a way; meditation is the way. It is the way to deeper understanding about oneself and others. The result of the practice of meditation is a gentle confidence that the world cannot take away. It is what keeps us from feeling alone in the Universe. It is the connection to our internal universe of Knowledge.

    Prayer and Meditation together give us a special foundation from which to function effectively in the world. In Prayer we bring positive energy to bear upon people and situations. In Meditation, we bring positive energy and Knowledge to guide us in all decision-making. Perhaps my favorite practice may help you also. I like to first pray, leaving all of my concerns about others and myself in the Love energy. Then, with my mind quieted, I enter into that Silence, that internal universe where Knowledge and creativity reside. That special moment of connection, a sense of divine Presence or Connection, is a special moment like no other. It is like a peak experience that both energizes and calms me. As I come out of that meditation experience I begin again to pray, giving thanks and accepting the Knowledge I have received. It is an experience of the Divine by whatever name you choose. It is leaving concerns in positive energy, connecting with an internal universe, opening to trust, and receiving information. It is the best that I can do for others. It is the best that I can do for myself.

    The result of my meditation practice is all of the meditations, other writings, and initiatives that appear on the Institute website. They are not by me, but they come through me. This is, I believe, how my prayer to be ‘an instrument of your Peace, that where there is hatred, I may sow Love’, by St. Francis of Assisi, is answered.

    Your experience will not be the same as mine, but it will be unique to you, profound, and inspiring. It will give you reason to live, rather than just living. It will connect you to others in profound ways. And it will guide you to where you need to be-step by step.

    In our Empowerment Retreat Center we can create the environment, and provide the structure, for you to learn to meditate in a powerful way. But no one can teach you to meditate. It is your responsibility to “show up”. The Universe does the rest.

    This Meditation is dedicated to all who “show up” in an attempt to grow in Knowledge, emanate Love, and, thereby, create Peace.

    Sue Kidd Shipe, Ph.D.
    Executive Director

    Please join us in prayer/meditation during the 24 hours of August 6, and again the first Sunday of every month. Send this e-mail to all in your address book, and share our messages of empowerment. Visit our website at www.humanempowerment.org.

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    The International Institute For Human Empowerment, Inc. is a
    501 ( C )( 3 ) tax-exempt organization recognized by the United States Government. Your contribution within the USA is tax-exempt.
    Sue Kidd Shipe, Executive Director
    International Institute For Human Empowerment, Inc.
    P. O. Box 3920
    Albany, New York  12203   USA
    (518) 393-9491

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