When you take your seat to meditate, do you ever consider the atmosphere in which you are placing yourself? In therapy
attention is paid to developing what is called a "positive holding environment," in which the client feels safe and held. When you meditate, you are in an internal environment consisting of thoughts, emotions, body sensations, your own meditation instructions, sounds, the object of your meditation, etc. You are hosting yourself.
|Image credit: Mark Ryden
You can positively or negatively affect your personal meditation environment in many ways: by disregarding it, noticing it, and even intentionally creating it. In a way,
when you meditate you are simultaneously the host and the guest of the meditative experience. A good host is welcoming, kind, patient and generous, which makes the guest feel accepted and cared for. As you settle into the beginning of a meditation, take a moment to attune your inner gaze toward yourself in a way that is accepting and open-minded. Notice if you carry harsh and strict boundaries for what is allowable in meditation. Notice if you are using your mind to create a gate that defines what is acceptable and what is not.
Meditation is a radical, even transgressive, state of open awareness. Many of us have internalized meditation instructions that are rule-bound and hierarchical.
Think of your meditation practice as a way of hosting a fabulous and unbound dinner party for all those marginalized parts of yourself that are deemed unacceptable and never get to see the light of day. Receive them all with equal attention and compassion.