There are mountains in our lives to climb- mountains and mountains to climb. Some times life seems to be only an uphill struggle. We all have our Kilimanjaro to scale.
As a child I loved to go hiking in the desert of Moab Utah. A couple of miles behind my house there was a creek that wound through a gully. It was such a peaceful place for me to visit. During rainstorms, which didn’t happen that often, a flash flood would rage through this hidden garden. It seemed to just wash away all debris and leave in its wake the fresh earth and the remains of a small stream. How could you find peace and hope for something better in the after math of a raging storm?
Every one of us has a job or purpose that we are to fulfill and we all have that raging storm that comes and hopefully passes on. How do we find that peace in the aftermath? How do we see the fresh start in all that lies before us?
I often turn to the scriptures for guidance. It is here at times a spark can be found to help me start moving my feet up the mountain once again after that storm.
To begin, the more understanding we have about ourselves the better able we are to make the climb.
Lord gave thee understanding in all things. 2 Tim. 2:7
Here is a promise that we can find understanding about ourselves and of what it is we need to recover from our storms. That is a beginning. How do we understand our understanding? In this scripture it states that the Lord will give us understanding. So that must mean that what we need is already inside of us and we just need to gain the understanding of what we have.
I love the parable that was told in Eckhart Tolle “ The Power of Now.”
“A beggar had been sitting by the side of the road for over thirty years. One day a stranger walked by. “Spare some change?” mumbled the beggar, mechanically holding his old baseball cap. “I have nothing to give you,” said the stranger. Then he asked: “What’s that you are sitting on?” “Nothing,” replied the beggar. “Just an old box. I have been sitting on it for as long as I can remember.” “Ever looked inside?” asked the stranger. “No,” said the beggar. “What’s the point? There’s nothing in there.” “Have a look inside,” insisted the stranger. The beggar managed to pry open the lid. With astonishment, disbelief, and elation, he saw that the box was filled with gold.”
What a powerful insight. We have hidden within us a great treasure waiting to be understood.
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, James 1:5
This is the first stepping-stone on our way to understanding. Ask of God.
I often liken this to my own children. It seems everyday at around noon my kids think they are hungry. They keep asking when lunch will be ready and some days I would rather not bother with fixing the food. Yet I do it anyway. Right? What parent who really loves their children would deny them something to eat.
Sidney asked one day of all the food on the table, which one was the healthiest and which one was not. I told her that the salad was the healthiest and that the cookies were not. “Oh man,” she said. “Why didn’t you tell me the cookies were the healthiest? That is what I wanted to eat. I don’t want the salad. Please tell me the cookies are the best.” (The heart of a five year old)
Does that sound so familiar? What we want isn’t always what we need. That is so important to remember when we ask God for guidance. Like our own children we will provide for them yet not always the way they want it.
The Lord shall guide thee continually, Isa. 58: 11
Even though we do not always get what we feel we want, He will continually provide for us. And like Sidney, it is a choice if we devour what he gives us.
I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, D&C 8:2
There are so many ways in which that understanding can be given to us. We can receive it in our minds, through studying, or through learning from others. We can be inspired through our hearts and be led one step at a time.
He will manifest the truth of it unto you, Moro. 10:4
What ever our choice is to learn and then to live, our Heavenly Father will manifest the truth to us. Are our minds and hearts open?
I have often read in the scriptures how important it is to meditate and pray. I have so often wanted a deeper understanding of the word meditate. Is this just to have us think about something for a few minutes—ask about it and then move on? Is that what it means?
Meditation is a time for deep communion with God and listening to what he has in store for us. Remember this is not a race to the top.
Over the years I have study how to communicate, study, learn to receive this understanding from God in all areas of my life. One of the greatest tools I have found is the opportunity to use deep meditation. Putting out of my mind all the overwhelming daily activities, worries or concerns this gives me peace and effective focus. I have learned that if I can concentrate on one concern at a time that I can find direction. And direction at all is exhilarating.
To help you better understand what we need to do, here is some information on brain waves. What does that have to do with finding direction and purpose? That is a good question. Knowing how our brains work at different vibrations helps us understand that there is a possibility to be in control of what our brain is doing, or what we can have our brains do.
Whether we are mentally active, resting or asleep, the brain always has some level of electrical activity.
Our brain is composed of billions of neurons. Neurons function by continuously firing energy and then resting. The number of times per second that they fire and rest is called their frequency. When we are in deep sleep, most of our neurons pulse very slowly. They pulse faster when we are in a light level of sleep. When we are wide-awake, they pulse even more rapidly.
When we are wide-awake, we are in the beta brainwave frequency. When we are more relaxed or in a light level of sleep, we are in the alpha level. At slower frequencies, we are at the theta and delta levels, with the delta being the slowest and the deepest levels of sleep.
The best meditative state is the Alpha level. When we learn to slow the brain waves to this level, you can use the entire brain to aid in understanding. At this lower level our mind is no longer racing to all the things in life that need to be done. We are no longer distracted by the stress in our body. Our brain frequency has slowed down and because of this, both sides of the brain can be used to find solutions and understanding.
This would explain why we are told to meditate. At these lower levels of brain waves, we are more open to inspiration. We have closed down the outside noise and confusion. Our bodies are relaxed so we are not concentrating on the tension in our bodies. We do not feel anxious and overwhelmed when we have slowed down our brain activity.
We can use this information to enhance our abilities, and skills, to change our health, personal growth, well-being and have a deeper communication with our higher being. This opens the way to different, and better paths to the top of our Kilimanjaro.
Daily meditation will develop intuitive faculties, improve heath, and bring inspiration. This process is a guide to become “in-tune” with the real you.
The steps to knowing and understanding:
1- Mental housecleaning- it is imperative to rid our mind of the negative ideas and thoughts that can plague us. When a negative thought or unproductive thought enters the mind repeat, “ This idea is of no value to me. It is a roadblock not a stepping-stone. I will abolish this idea because it no longer serves me.”
2- Substitute in its place the goal you want to achieve. Count all our blessings and understand that we are and can receive what we need.
3- Choose one concern. It can be overwhelming if we choose too many concerns at a time. Pick the one that is most relevant at this moment.
4- Have a piece of paper and pencil close by, so that thoughts can be written down with eyes closed.
5- We must study it out in our mind, D&C 9:8. It is very helpful if we learn as much as we can about the subject on which we want to meditate. For example, if I want to learn to be a better parent, it would be good to research, and ask people who have been successful, and talk to professionals. Have several options ready. Sometimes a meditation session will give you directions or locations or people whom you need to learn from.
That may seems like a lot of time spent to prepare for meditation. In reality we have a lifetime, right? In searching for truth, time is irrelevant. This process can be faster than years of trial and error. Finding truth can bring peace faster in the long run.
Here are the steps for meditation.
Find a comfortable place and have on clothes that will allow you to relax. For me, I like to wear my morning sweats and just lay on the floor. You should not get too comfortable because you don’t want to go to sleep. There is a difference between meditating and vegetating.
Now that location is decided, we are ready to start clearing the mind. Any time our mind starts to wander we need to bring it back to the present. This is not a time to think about the entire world revolving around you, or about the laundry, dishes and dinner. This is a time for healing and inspiration.
Put on some music (no words) or a sound recording such as rain or water. This helps to keep the mind focused on what is at hand.
Start concentrating on the top of the head. Then move down the body to the toes.
1- Concentrate on the top of my head saying to myself, “Relax this portion of my body. Relax every cell every muscle, letting go of all my tension in this part of my body.”
2- The next part of the body is the face. Concentrate on the face saying, “Relax every cell, every muscle. Relax the muscles around the eyes and lips, then the cheeks.”
3- Move to the neck area repeating the same words and concentrating on these portions of the body. I then move to the arms, the chest, the hips, the legs and the feet. After I have relaxed my entire body, I count backwards from 20 to 1. Or count from 10 to 1 or 30 – 1 which ever is need. As I do this, I feel myself going deeper into relaxation.
4- Now think of a very peaceful place. For me, I like the beach listening to the water rush to shore. Maybe it could be sitting in the mountains, feeling the breeze blow.
5- After visualizing this peaceful place again count backwards from 10 – 1. I am now deeply relaxed and very open to inspiration. If you or someone you know is struggling with problems, this is the state that you are able to help.
6- An example would be if I have a headache I would visualize the pain leaving and energy entering in. I might visualize the pain as a weed being pulled out, leaving my head, and flowers (new thoughts or ideas) being planted. Use whatever visualization needed in order to see the healing take the place of pain. One could stay in this state for a few minutes or how much time is needed. It is a time to communicate with our greater power. We are now more open to Heavenly Father’s instruction.
7- After I have spent the time needed in this meditative state, I can count from 1- 10 to come out, saying to myself, “I am now awake feeling better than before, having greater health and peace than before. This is a new beginning and the rest of my life is the best of my life. I am now ready to help others in their journey.”
I now feel very relaxed, the tension has left my body. With my new inspiration and energy, I am better able to move forward on my destination.
This technique could only take 20 minutes or more if need. If time is short, a 5 min run down is better than none.
The first few times that this is done there may not be a great deal of change. It is important to keep practicing.
Believe in yourself, and in your ability to receive direction. It will happen. These sessions will become a time to lift and inspire. It will be a joy to climb your Kilimanjaro.