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Thursday, September 5, 2019

My Highlands Experience

A couple of weeks ago, thanks to the generosity of some friends, J and I had the opportunity to spend the better part of a week in Breckenridge. I enjoyed waking up without an alarm, having no specific agenda, meditating, reading, and doing pretty much whatever I felt like doing in the moment. I loved being in the space of going with the flow while being surrounded by the natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains. It was, as my good friend Debra would say, AWE-mazing!

I was in such a blissful state while there that I honestly grieved having to leave. I’m not exaggerating. I was on the verge of tears as we drove out of town. I was mourning the loss of the quiet, the beauty, the spaciousness, and the freedom I felt.

I knew I would be coming back to the rush of traffic, the busyness of life and my daily routine. Not that my daily routine is a grind. However, while I do take time for prayer and meditation, my days are usually filled with activity. I do not typically experience the laid back pace and freedom I had enjoyed in Breckenridge.

I remember saying to J as we left town, “We’re headed back to the lowlands,” as if Denver would ever be considered the “lowlands.” The feeling of grief stayed with me for several days. Even though I would never recommend anyone else do it, I did my best to push the feelings away. I told myself I was just being silly. Again, not something I would suggest someone else do.

When I discussed it with my life coach, Deborah Jane Wells, she reminded me of the importance of feeling our feelings and not trying to talk ourselves out of them. I knew that! It’s so much easier to remember it for others. She also helped me to connect with the metaphor of calling home the “lowlands.”

Through our conversation, I was able to recognize that I was associating the feelings of peace, openness and ease with Breckenridge. I was giving power to the location. I realized that while being in nature surrounded by beauty can help foster connection, it is not the source. Nothing in the external is the source of our peace, joy, or freedom. There is only one source. That source is within.

Conversely, I was associating another location, Denver, the “lowlands,” with a lower state of consciousness. Just as there is no external source of our peace, joy and freedom, there is no external source of worry, anxiety or stress. Those feelings are sourced internally as well. They result from a mind that thinks itself separate from The Source.

Both serenity and anxiety are inner states of consciousness. Neither is dependent upon a location, circumstance or life situation. We have the power to choose either in every moment. My intention is to choose the “highlands” of peace, joy, freedom and ease.

The “highlands” is an inner journey that may be reflected in the outer, rather than an outer journey felt by the inner. We have the opportunity to develop practices that will assist us in making that inner journey.

We can’t always get away to the mountains for a few days, but we can take time every day for quiet contemplation or meditation. I suggest setting aside at least 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening to sit quietly.

Remove focus from the outer by closing your eyes.

Breathe deeply and allow the breath to draw your attention inward.

Imagine that your awareness is centered in your heart.

Then, imagine that it is rising upward to the top your head, the crown.

Consciously open the crown and see your awareness extending beyond your body into the universal field.

Allow it to rest there in the “highlands” for as long as you are willing and able.

Feel the peace, joy and freedom that comes from being in this high place in consciousness.

Gather into your awareness as much of this experience as you possibly can.

When you are ready, imagine all of that awareness flowing back through your crown and down into your heart.

Open your heart to experience this high level of consciousness.

Ground the feeling in your heart by placing your hand lightly over your heart.

Welcome the sensations that arise.

Breathe the awareness down through your body, out your feet and into the earth.

Feel yourself connected to Mother Earth, Father Sky and all that has life.

Once again, breathe your awareness into the heart.

See the image of heart as the center of an infinity symbol.

Allow the energy to flow through your heart in all directions, bringing Light to all creation, through all dimensions.

Breathe the awareness back into your heart, see it as a sphere of light abiding right at the center of your being.

Feel your entire energy field glowing with this light.

When you feel complete, bring your awareness back to the physical senses.

Open your eyes when you are ready.

NOTE: For a guided meditation using these steps, please watch the video linked below.

Take that with you as go about your day or as you lie down to sleep. Allow it to integrate into your being. As you integrate this experience, it will infuse your thoughts, words, and actions. You will begin to live more consistently in this high state of consciousness. Additionally, you will assist others and the world in rising to meet you. 

You have just entered the “highlands” experience without ever leaving your home. There is nowhere you need to go. This experience is within you. As Glinda, the good witch, told Dorothy at the end of The Wizard of Oz, “You had the power all along, my dear.”