The desert has always been a popular destination for spiritual retreats. It’s an environment full of mysteries that evoke deep thought.
Maybe you live in a place where the desert is a day trip away. Otherwise, you can bring a little of the Sahara into your home. Play Egyptian music and gaze at images of sands and palm trees. Sit on a colorful blanket and eat a few dates.
When you’re relaxed, settle down and close your eyes. Let these three meditations guide you through contemplating yourself and your world.
Meditation on Big and Small Things
The desert offers a dramatic lesson about the impact of small things. Individual grains of sand are tiny but create fierce storms when combined with each other and with the wind. Think of how small changes can add up.
- Pick one thing. Review your daily life and one area where you would like to get different results. You may want to lose weight or take on a challenging project at work.
- Propose a new habit. Ask yourself what you could do differently to improve your chances of success. Bring your lunch to work instead of eating fast food. Ask your supervisor for feedback rather than waiting for them to notice you.
- Set a goal. Clarify your plans. Give yourself a timeline so you know where you stand and what more you need to do.
- Visualize your new routine. Picture yourself making different choices. Enjoy the good feelings that arise.
Meditation on Heat and Cold
Deserts are often very hot during the day and very cold at night. Wherever we live, we may waste the winter months wishing the weather was hot like in summer. Then, when summer arrives, we long for snow. Imagine being content with your current conditions instead.
- Describe an irritation. It’s probably easy to come up with at least one thing that annoys you. Are you working late hours or bickering with your teenage daughter?
- Examine the reverse situation. Take a look at the opposite scenario. How would it feel to be unemployed? Do you miss your children even when they’re gone for just the weekend?
- Seek happiness within. By now you are likely to remember that your happiness must come from within. Improving your attitude provides more relief than focusing on external conditions.
- Invent a reminder. It’s easy to get caught up in negative feelings. Use a simple trigger to remind yourself of your own power to feel better. It could be a line from a favorite song or looking at your watch.
Meditation on Softness and Hardness
Sand provides a warm and soft cushion to lie on. However, when we get up, we find it more difficult to walk than if we were on level ground. The sand may even burn our feet as temperatures rise. It’s a lot like the defense mechanisms that complicate our lives even though we use them to try to protect ourselves.
- List your defense mechanisms. Most people can find plenty of examples of denial in their daily lives if they’re willing to look. See how your self-deceptions manifest.
- Develop alternatives. Go through the situations that tend to make you feel uneasy. Consider more constructive responses.
- Reinforce your motivation. It’s tough to rid yourself of defense mechanisms you’ve been relying on for years. Treat yourself to effective rewards like sincere self-praise or a long awaited vacation.
Let the power and beauty of the desert inspire you to reconcile the opposing forces in your life. You’ll learn how to resolve conflicts and move forward toward your goals.