Posted in Spiritual Practices, Surrender

Nada Meditation – Practicing Ego-Release

Today’s blog presents a meditation practice with ego-release as its intention.  I am dubbing this practice, “Nada Meditation” which means “Nothing” and is not to be confused with the yogic practice of Nada Meditation which is defined as the “yoga of sound.”

A Series of Unfortunate Events 

Due to a series of events, I have been given the opportunity (with much resistance on my part, I might add) to re-examine, re-address, re-assess EVERY aspect of my professional life.  Along with this opportunity, I was also given the gift of nearly two weeks to retreat, reflect, rest and re-direct.  I write this blog somewhere along the mid-point of this time of Universe-imposed retreat and will wholeheartedly admit that I have no idea what the outcome of this time of retreat might be….and even better, I don’t feel a need to know.  The greatest gift in this time of retreat was the chance to get out of Dodge and enjoy a time of true separation.  It was in the middle of this time out of Dodge that I was introduced to a very valuable and necessary meditation practice.  I am certain that someone else has already invented a practice such as this, but until I learn otherwise, I am dubbing this practice Nada Meditation ( not to be confused with the yogic meditation practice of the same name that is known as the yoga of sound.)

Ego-Temptations

The invitation to enter into Nada Meditation presented itself when in the midst of my retreat, a dear friend, former colleague, mentor and teacher presented me with a career path idea.  As I examined this opportunity,  I unexpectedly found myself face to face with all the “roles” I have assumed in my past and current life and the shocking realization of all the egoic motivations that have driven these choices.  This realization  hit me upside the head and right between the eyes.  Enter the practice of Nada.

Nada:  Nothing.  Zilch.  No-Thing

Nada Meditation invites us to examine all the roles and titles that we have chosen in our lives and to root out the portions of said roles that may be driven by ego.  Ego is identified  by those choices that we make out of fear, competition, want or desire.  For example, one of the roles I have assumed in my  life is Angry, Impatient, Recovering Catholic bent on reforming the Church or at least proving that they are wrong.  The egoic motivation is obvious in this role.  The role of the ego in other roles we choose might be more subtle.  For myself, one of the subtle ego-attachments I have had to acknowledge is that in my decision to offer a Sunday evening gathering for prayer, I have in a sense thumbed my nose at the Church as said, “Ha ha….if you won’t do this, I will.”  It doesn’t mean there isn’t merit in offering a space for people to gather in contemplative prayer, but the egoic-motivation of revenge or to be the center of attention, or to assume I’m right and someone else is wrong might negatively skew the effects of said gathering.  The ego is tricky!

Practicing Nada

1) Practicing Nada Meditation begins by identifying all the roles you have assumed in your life.  For me, this was easy:

Teacher.  Leader.  Reformer.  Perfectionist.  Minister.  Healer.  Spiritual Director.  Mystic.  Catholic.  Recovering Catholic.  Wounded Catholic.  Victim.  Martyr.  Meditator.  Yogi.  Bhakta.  Contemplative.  Judge.  Jury.  Grude-holder.  Irish Grudge-holder.  Introvert.  Intuitive.  Planner.  Pastor.   Church Leader.  Priestess. Vessel of God.  etc. etc. etc.

2) The second step in Nada Meditation is to say “Not this and Not that” to each of these roles.

Not teacher.  Not healer.  Not leader, etc.

And as you are saying “Not this and not that” to each of these roles, visualize these roles floating away from you.  You could imagine these roles as ribbons or strings of attachment releasing from your spirit.  The goal of this step is to really be willing to LET GO of these roles….to become completely empty and free of all of the roles you have wrapped around yourself.  This can be a really scary step, but in the practice of Nada…we have to be willing to really LET GO. This doesn’t mean that some of these roles might not come back, but for now, we have to be willing to LET THEM GO!

3) After you have completed the “Not this, not that” step, examine yourself for what is left.  After you have released all your chosen roles….what is really left standing?  When I did this exercise, after I shed all the roles I had heaped upon myself, all that was left standing was LOVE.   This might be the same for you…or you might find that what is left is peace or joy or contentment.

4) The fourth – and on-going step of Nada is to allow what is left standing to be in the world.  For me, I guess that means I am to simply be love in the world.  (Not sure exactly what that means….but I’ll keep you posted.)  Then here is the really cool part….you just might find that many of the roles you have just released now come back to you….but in a new and purified form…..free from fear, desire, want, a need to be right, or better, etc. and now rooted in what is left.  So for me, I might still be called to write or to offer Spiritual Direction or even to teach, but it will now be more free from the fears, desires or wants that might have motivated these roles in the past.  HMMMMM….what might that look like?

What are the roles you have chosen in this life?

What part of these roles might have been driven by fear, want, desire?

How might the practice of Nada help you to purify these roles?

 

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

 

Posted in Faith, Spiritual Direction

God in the Nada and Why Spiritual Directors ROCK!

The title says it all – Finding God in the Nada (Nothing) and why a Spiritual Director is the BEST gift we can give to ourselves!


Ok, so you have heard my moaning, groaning, bemoaning, wailing, complaining and crying over not getting  the house I wanted and how I feel like God has pulled the rug out from underneath me.  WEEELLLLL…..I was meeting  MY Spiritual Director (yes, even Spiritual Director’s need a Spiritual Director) and dumping the same pile of victim on top of her wise head.  I told her I was tired of sitting in this place of limbo, unable to move forward with my plans.  I want a house and I want it now, I want this divorce to move forward, I want my book to be released, I want more paid writing gigs, I want more clients and I want to start creating my new life.  I’m tired of sitting here with NOTHING happening – NO house, NO book, No divorce, No clients (literally….my calendar suddenly became TOTALLY empty!), No paid writing gigs, NOTHING NOTHING NOTHING!  And this is why I LOVE my Spiritual Director – she followed up my temper tantrum over hating this place of nada with the following question:

“Lauri, can you find God in the nothing?”

SCREEEEEECH!   I felt like those hysterical women in the 1940’s dramas who are startled out of their hysteria when the “big strong man” slaps them across the face (which, by the way, I do not recommend).  What?  Finding God in the nothing?  Well…….I know it is easy to find God in the miracles – the pink sink, the affordable home, the eager contractor…..   AND  it is easy to find God in pain – God as our source of comfort, God as our source of healing, God as our source of inspiration.  But….How do I find God in the nada?


The image that surfaced when she asked me this question was one of a caterpillar resting snugly within the chrysalis WAITING to emerge as a butterfly.  To the naked eye, it appears that nothing is happening.  It appears that the caterpillar is simply taking a nap and that it will someday emerge….as a caterpillar.  AH…..but in truth, there is DEEP and PROFOUND transformation taking place….IN  THE  NADA!  Nothing is happening…..and yet…..PROFOUND change is taking place….and not just any sort of change…but a change that is MAGNIFICENT and DEFIES LOGIC.


So…..How can I find God in the Nada?  It seems that this is perhaps the biggest leap of faith that I have ever been invited to take.  Can I find God in this space of seemingly nothing?  Can I trust that God is at work in a deep, silent, profound place where it appears that nothing is happening….but perhaps something is?  HHHHMMMMM  I don’t know.  But then the answer came……How can I find God in the nada?  The answer in a nutshell is:  IN THE PRESENT MOMENT.


Duh….God is present in one place and one place only – THE PRESENT MOMENT.  Can I get out of my list of grievances from the past and out of my daydreaming and planning about the future and BE HERE NOW?  Can I enjoy the presence of my children?  Can I appreciate the beauty of autumn?  Can I be grateful for a time to pause, reflect, pray, meditate.  Can I be present to my own need for healing, comfort, silence?  Can I recognize that perhaps my clients disappeared because I don’t have the emotional energy to be present to others in that way (right now anyway) as I face my own grief, fear, etc.  Can I just be here now and find the peace of God, the compassion of God and the embrace of God in this time of NADA?  Well, all I can do is try.



So today, I thank my Spiritual Director for metaphorically slapping me across the face and startling me out of my victim tirade to be present to the more important question at hand – Can I find God in the Nada?

To whom do you turn for support, guidance, presence in your own Spiritual Journey?

What is your typical response to times of Nothing, Limbo, when there is seemingly nothing happening?

How do you find God in the Nada?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries/YourSpiritualTruth

http://yourspiritualtruth.com