Deal With Stress

The Secret Diary of An Aspiring Meditation Master – Week One, Meditation, The Relaxing Breath

breatheForward by Matt Clarkson:

There’s no shortage of spiritual wisdom these days, but the real challenge is living it. We’ve all read a spiritual classic or two like Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now” or “Autobiography of a Yogi”. We pretty much “get” the essence of these teachings. Where we struggle is in the integration of these profound practices into a modern life – a life that’s often already overflowing with demands and pressures.

There also seems to be a big disconnect between the highest level teachers and “the rest of us” normal people with bills and responsibilities. The great masters sometimes appear not to live in the same world as the rest of us. They seem to be just too “perfectly spiritual” to be any good to us. After all, they don’t have 101 things to do today. They don’t have to bills to pay or kids to look after!

Enter Janet Wolfe, long-standing contributor at and member of our private Spiritual Growth Monthly community. Beginning today, Janet is going to share what she is learning from her weekly messages and guided meditation lessons, hopefully sharing a more “down to earth” perspective that you’ll find helpful.

This material is normally only available to private members of Spiritual Growth Monthly, but I’ve convinced her to share her “secret diary” with you in the hope it will help you on our path. Hopefully you will appreciate this much more intimate perspective.


– Matt

The Secret Diary of An Aspiring Meditation Master

May 2014 – Week One, Meditation, “The Relaxing Breath.”

Welcome to my travel diary, on a voyage along with Kevin Schoeninger’s weekly messages in Spiritual Growth Monthly. The title of this Secret Diary feels a little presumptuous, but my focus really is on the “aspiring” part. You see, I have dabbled with meditation for a half a century, so I guess it’s about time I got serious about this whole thing.

As it happened, I listened to the guided meditation while I had a break in the late afternoon, during what has been a rather rough day.

I use similar breathing, relaxing meditations from time to time. But I realized listening to Kevin the first time through, that I tend to do them when I am already on the way to being relaxed, and want to become more so. A few minutes at the beginning of the day, or at night, but very seldom in the middle of the day…when I really need it.

Kevin is basing this month’s messages on key elements from Inna Segal’s book, “The Secret of Life Wellness: The Essential Guide to Life’s Big Questions”. The title really struck me, because the biggest part of my day has little to do with Life’s Big Questions, but rather with life’s little annoyances. When I get busy I forget to pay attention to the role intuition plays in my thinking. And if I am stressed or anxious, sometimes my ego, alias my inner brat, fights to maintain control. So intuition is apt to get a big mental “don’t tell me what to do,” without my even realizing it.

I am committed to a religious faith, but like many people I get wrapped up in other things, and remember God’s grace when I need help, or some unseen force seems to step in and save me from crashing my car. I may say prayers for guidance, but I don’t always have a high level of confidence that I will hear it when it comes.

I’ve never thought about intuition as a skill I could learn, I guess. It has always seemed like an inherent talent, like music or math. Not that I am exactly intuitively tone deaf, but I may not recognize it amidst the continual mental chatter. Sometimes I am too quick to shut down new ideas. But other times, if I give free reign to what I think is intuition, it turns out to be just some hare brained scheme. Sometimes the inner brat just wants to throw a tantrum and stomp on whatever is good for me, leaving me with a huge desire to dig a hole and just crawl in.

This leads me back to not meditating when I am the most stressed out. Awful admission alert. I procrastinate. And sometimes my ego is enjoying pitching a fit. Some days I do feel more spiritual and inclined to reach beyond myself, but other days I put off what would actually make me feel better, like exercise, and then am too tired to think about it at the end of the day.

So, what I learned today is that it is possible to redirect my mental compass, and allow intuition to take a more active role. Rationally I probably already knew that, but how often I forget. When I am the most agitated, I need to breathe and relax right then and there. It’s a start.

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