by Andrea Adler
Set fire to the Self within by the practice of meditation. Be drunk with the wine of divine love. Thus shall you reach perfection.
Whenever we take on the promise of becoming initiated into anything, there is an opening within, a letting go of what was, and a curiosity about what soon may be. The mere thought of initiation can bring up apprehension, concern for the unknown, and unease as to what the initiation may introduce. We can back away from this feeling
of trepidation and not take any action . . . remaining where we are in our lives. Or we
can move ahead –– even if there is fear –– and trust that when we take this leap into
uncharted realms, a safety net will surely appear.
The ease of initiation manifests most gracefully when we are connected to source:
that place inside us where consciousness resides, where we feel rooted, comfortable
in our own skin, whether we are active or at rest. When we merge into this space, we
have more trust in our decisions; we are able to work through emotional and physical
challenges, and maintain objectivity. By surrendering into this relationship, by tending
to this “inner garden” first, we move more quickly out of confusion and agitation; we act
with increasing clarity.
Take a moment and think of the ways in which you connect with source. Perhaps
it’s when you’re walking on the beach, mountain climbing, skiing, or swimming. Maybe
it’s when you are jogging or knitting. Isn’t it true that while these activities nourish the
soul and uplift the spirit, they require an attention to and a focus on something outside
The act of meditation is quite different. It is a journey that takes us inside
ourselves. It becomes the gateway through which we can dive into our psyche and
perform self-inquiry. It is a practice that allows us to witness our senses and our
emotions, building an internal muscle that strengthens the mind. It also reveals our
limitations –– and shows us our greatness.
There are numerous forms of meditation, from open-eyed to closed-eyed, from
a simple mindfulness of the breath to a meditation that focuses on an image, on a subtle
feeling, or on a mantra. There are Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Taoist, Jewish, and Islamic
forms of meditation. And while each of these methods has its own unique qualities, they
all provide a respite from our everyday routines, allowing us to observe ourselves from
an objective point of view –– a kind of telescopic, microscopic vision into our internal
mechanics. Whether we sit with eyes closed or open, this essential human experience
offers us an opportunity like no other: to engage fully in the pursuit of looking inward.
Meditation Is the First Step
I introduce meditation early on because it is the starting point for the rest of the journey
to unfold. For it is only when we have learned to quiet the mind, to surrender our
thoughts, settle into stillness and allow this stillness to expand, that we can begin to
access our inner knowing. Only when we have heard the subtle voice of wisdom within,
recognized it, and acted on it with faith and trust can we begin to understand Spirit and
how it moves us.
How can there possibly be a successful marketing strategy, campaign, or initiative
without listening to our inner guidance first? How many times have you heard yourself
say, Oh, I wish I had trusted my instincts and purchased that building, or I wish I had
said yes and gone to that seminar! or No, don’t you dare get involved with that project,
it’s toxic! How often do we even hear that voice, let alone act on it? The more we
practice meditation, the more audible that voice becomes, and the more capable we are of
hearing it. This is the gift we receive when we sit for meditation.
I have met many people who think meditation is a waste of time, or who think it’s
boring. Active people, who would prefer to be “doing something.” “Who has the time?”
“Nothing’s happening when I sit,” they say. I always get a kick out of hearing that one.
Particularly because my experience is that when I sit, even while I am still, I feel like I’m
taking the posture of the hummingbird, that magnificent aerodynamic phenomenon able
to hover in midair for hours. That tiny, jewel-feathered warrior may create the illusion of
being suspended effortlessly, but the truth is, his wings are beating at a speed of up to 200
strokes per second.
That’s what it’s like when we meditate. Although we are just sitting, we are
extremely active. When we begin to feel its true worth and power, there is an ongoing
plunge into the depths of our soul. There we connect with insights and revelations about
ourselves that we may never otherwise encounter. Internal shifts begin to occur, emotions
are transmuted, and stagnant places get charged.
In other words, meditation is not for the weak or for the judgmental; it is only
for lovers of wisdom. And those who are courageous enough to go there will certainly
receive its wondrous fruits.
My Introduction to Meditation
Meditation has always been the tool I have used to unite myself with source. It’s the one
discipline that has provided me with, and been a catalyst for, peace and fearlessness.
It has supported me through harrowing times and delightful times. In every situation,
meditation has been there, like an old trusted friend, guiding me, protecting me from
circumstances that may have thrown me off center, bringing me back “home.”
If you have never meditated before, here is a simple introduction. And even if
you’ve been meditating for years, you may want to take a little dip and connect to your
source, right now.
A Simple Meditation Practice
First, find a place in your home that is relatively quiet, a place where you won’t be
disturbed. Walk around the room until you resonate with a spot and place a pillow there.
If you prefer not to sit in cross-legged on the floor, find a comfortable chair that allows
you to keep your back upright, without strain. Place a woolen blanket over the pillow
or on the seat of the chair, as it will absorb and amplify the cumulative energy of your
meditation practice. Sit comfortably.
Now close your eyes and take a deep breath. Let it out slowly. Take another
deep breath and exhale slowly. If you feel any place in your body where there is pain or
tension, breathe into the spot a few times and watch the tension dissolve.
Take another deep breath and let it out slowly. Starting with your temples, and
moving down to the cheek area, the nose, and around the lips, notice if there is any
pressure in your face. Breathe into the tension and let it go. Relax your jaw. Gently check
the rest of your body to see if there are any other places where there might be pressure or
holding on, and let the tension go.
Bring your attention to your breath. You can repeat the word Om on the in-breath
and Om on the out-breath. Or use another mantra with which you’re comfortable or a
word that has a quality you need at this time, like peace or love. Keep repeating your
word or your mantra as you settle into the inner space of the Self.
Thoughts will inevitably begin to surface. Don’t try to block them. Don’t fight
them. Just watch your thoughts without getting attached to them. Remember, your mind
is simply doing its job — thinking! Without focusing on their content, simply observe the
thoughts dancing in front of you. And keep letting the thoughts go — words are birds,
flying away. Or imagine your thoughts being carried gently down a river. You’re just
sitting on the bank of the river, watching.
You will undoubtedly get lost in your thoughts now and again. Keep bringing
your attention back to the breath and the word or the mantra you’re repeating. Let your
attention be drawn to the sound of the word or the mantra, the resonance of the mantra,
inside. The steadiness of being immersed in the breath and repeating Om will take you
When you are comfortable, and your thoughts have slowed down and you are
breathing deeply, you can let go of the Om and let go of watching the breath and allow
yourself to keep letting go of all thoughts and feelings, time and space. Let go of who
you are; let go of your surroundings. Let go of everything you know and don’t know.
Just dive deeper and deeper into the silent well that nourishes you and energizes you and
loves you, as you are, unconditionally.
Sit for as long as you like. Meditation often has a twenty-minute internal cycle, so
try to sit for at least twenty minutes. Twice a day, if you can.
Meditation as the Foundation
So what does meditation have to do with marketing and public relations?
By starting our day with this practice, we stand firm in our present state of
awareness. We become conscious of our thoughts and our emotions. Our decisions come
from a place of conviction, rather than from guessing. The banter and chatter about
whether we should advertise here, promote ourselves there, collaborate with partners,
or build a practice of our own . . . stops. We listen more closely, more attentively, not
only to our own thoughts and emotions, but also to the thoughts and emotions of our
clients and our customers. Listening to the subtext behind their words provides us
with the insight we need to serve them in more meaningful ways. Patience becomes an
active, dynamic virtue we perform, rather than an act of passive toleration. And, at those
moments when we feel overwhelmed, we are conscious of the imbalance. We step back
from the chaos and pause. And in the pause, we know we can sit, get in touch with the
source once again, and be guided.
When we are truly in connection with this source, we are in touch with the
deepest level of truth, reality, and intention. We become aware of the consequences of
our actions. We know when something is not dharmic (right action) and we become
incapable of performing selfish, destructive acts.
The Ultimate Invitation
Meditation is an ongoing process, an internal discovery that never ends. I encourage you
to try it, even as an experiment. Watch and see how, day-by-day, subtle, positive shifts
occur. How your concentration improves, how your mood swings become less dramatic,
how your intellect becomes keener.
Taking those precious moments to go inside is not always easy; in fact we will
find loads of excuses to avoid it. But the truth remains: when we yield to this practice
at least once a day and dive into the bliss, the bliss becomes a bubble, and the bubble
protects our every move.
Strike up a love affair with meditation, and see how your life unfolds. Even if
you sit for just a few minutes each day and build slowly, your very taste for meditation
will get stronger and allow you to sit longer. Be patient. Like all intimate relationships,
meditation has its peaks and valleys, its intensities and expansions. Issues of time and
space will collide with the demands of everyday life. Nevertheless, as you return to this
divine place, day after day, it will become an exquisite home, a place of refuge you will
feel extremely safe and cozy living in
This is not hocus-pocus, nor is it a game. Meditation is a concrete practice
that allows us to live more freely in the moment, in the flow of life and its surprising
events. The thought-free state that we enter when we meditate connects us to our highest
intuition, and paves the way for us to trust that our deepest desires will not only be
fulfilled, they will be God’s wish for us.