The Feast (as we call it) is a period of time when we ask people around the world to commit to 40 minutes of spiritual practice each day for forty days. Spiritual practice can take any form that comes easily to you based on previous religious and spiritual history. It can be any one of the following:
- Reading Sacred Texts
- Martial Arts
Any activity that stills your mind and puts you in touch with the quiet place inside of you where Spirit dwells in stillness will do.
We have already talked about how you can start to build your mental muscles by practicing concentration/meditation for 15 minutes each day. It’s about time to begin to extend that time from 15 minutes to 20-25 minutes. For many of you that will not be easy. Your mind is a literal thought-making machine. Some teachers even describe it as a jungle full of wild beasts that are almost impossible to tame. So, how in the world are you going to do that in your present situation?
Here is an idea. There is a meditation practice called walking meditation. This practice allows you to place your concentration in your feet; about as far away from your thought-making mind as possible. You will take one step at a time, walking slowly and deliberately with each step. If you begin your meditation with about 10 minutes of walking and then find a place to sit in a good erect posture for the balance of the time, you may find it easier to get control of your wild monkey mind and make it through your 20 minutes.
Here are the steps to take in beginning your walking meditation practice:
- Find a quiet place where you can take about 10 small deliberate steps in one direction.
- Drop your gaze to the floor.
- Take your first step.
- With each step say to yourself:
- Lifting, as you lift up one foot.
- Moving, as you move the foot forward.
- Placing, as you drop your foot to its new place on the floor.
- You will probably find that as you place your foot on the floor you will automatically begin lifting the other foot.
Remember to make each step slow and deliberate and make each part of the step a separate movement. I usually find that ten minutes of this settles my mind and time will pass very quickly.
You don’t need a lot of space for this practice. You can walk in a small circle. I walk on a rug that is about 4 feet by 4 feet. What is important is that this practice will settle your mind in a way that all the efforting with your mind will not be able to do.
Here is some inspiration: I’m not sure if you know these Hollywood people, but they all meditate each and every day and attribute their success to that practice: Oliver Stone (director), Richard Gere (actor), Hugh Jackman (actor), Ellen Berstyn (actress). All are academy award winning individuals. Here is what one of them said in an interview:
“I meditate for 30 minutes each day.
If I feel as though I don’t have time,
then I meditate for 60 minutes.”
I think that quote says it all.
I hope this new practice helps you to stay on track.
I invite you to commit to the Feast by writing to the editor of Freedom Inside. By joining thousands of people around the world you will be part of creating
A World at Peace, One Heart at a Time.
Who knows what will happen when we are successful. Forty days is an auspicious number. Any number of other famous people went off to the desert or were taken up to the heavens for forty days: Abraham, Elijah, Moses, Jesus, Buddha, Mohamed, and even Noah. The number is a number of transformation. See what it will do in your life.
Written By: Valerie Skonie, Founder, Feast for the Soul
Valerie Skonie is a retired businesswoman and interdenominational meditation teacher living in Hailey Idaho. She directs the third annual Winter Feast from her home with the help of a small group of volunteers.