Arriving Home :: Finding Stability Within
Finding Stability Within
Over the years of my practice, I have found one of the most-healing qualities of meditation to be the experience of stability. Early on in my meditation path, I was taught that an initial goal of meditation is to create more stability within, particularly in the mind. So, in this Arriving Home we explore just that - what it means to create stability in your meditation and within.
Stability in Meditation
When it comes to the experience of stability in our meditation practice, there are three levels we refer to.
1. Stability in the body: The first suggested place to begin engaging with creating stability is in the body. The body is also the first foundation of mindfulness and when you have awareness of the body, you can then begin to find stability in the body, namely through posture, comfort, wakefulness of attention and feeling safe. I always suggest for my students to find a comfortable way to sit in meditation, so they can then put their efforts on finding stillness in the body. Stability is experienced in the body by focusing on your seat of practice , noticing if you can be with sensations in the body as they rise and fall, observing the urges that come up to move, fidget or itch and letting them pass by, connecting to the inherent solidness in the body. Once the body is still, the mind can also have the opportunity to be still too.
2. Stability of mind: The first step in a meditation practice is to create stable, steady attention that permeates into body stability and overall equanimity. The more stable your attention is, the less likely you will be thrown around by urges, discomfort or strong emotions. Stabilizing your attention means having a strong hold on your object of focus in the present moment, whether that's the breath, the body, sounds or a mantra and being able to "be with what is" in the present moment in your meditation. An example: even if you are being bothered by a lot of thoughts during your meditation practice, you don't really allow yourself to be truly bothered or become unhinged enough to throw in the towel and stop meditating. Because you continue to let thoughts go and return your attention to the breath.
3. Inner stability through equanimity: An outcome of stability in the body and stability of mind is equanimity which refers to the balance and evenness of mind. To me, equanimity is the awareness where you can remain unbiased and connected to stability even in the midst of acute emotions, anxieties, worry or intense thoughts. It's remembering that you are okay even when things externally do not seem okay. Equanimity gives way to a strong sense of inner stability which allows for more resilience, more peace and over time, more sustainable happiness.
Finding stability in your meditation practice is a fantastic training ground for bringing inner stability with you out into your life. The more clear, safe, and emotionally-balanced you feel, the more confidence and inner strength you can build. Inner stability is a mixture of these elements - it is that feeling of having a home you can return to within you. No matter what is happening around you or where you are in the world.