Mindfulness Monthly | OCTOBER

Yep, this is where I am. On a two month adventure to South America. It feels very... big. I've been practising my Spanish on Duolingo like crazy but so far I'm understanding next to nada!

The first real stop after acclimatising to the altitude is Cusco, a city in the Peruvian Andes, once the capital of the Inca Empire.

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Before ticking Machu Picchu off my proverbial bucket list of sacred sites, the following thoughts swirled in my mind:

Very excited and a little nervous about being disappointed. I don’t do well with sacred sites. Actually, I don’t do so well with tarot readings, psychics, other dimensions... 

Somehow, I just can’t feel the energy (oops, don’t tell anyone that). I WANT to, I really want to, but it just doesn’t happen. Uluru for me was a lot of busses, tourists and cameras. Then the walk around was simply too uncomfortable to feel anything but the heat...

I have also yet to feel the overwhelming devotional love for a guru. I have huge affection and love for some of my teachers but would I sacrifice my family for that devotion? Sometimes this feels like failure, a spiritual failing...

What I do know is that when I sit in meditation, sit quietly without an agenda and stay as close as I can to my breathing, something wonderful happens in the stillness. Thoughts of failure are irrelevant and I tap into a profound peace. This is my little sacred site.

It was, of course, not at all what played out during the actual experience. Surprise surprise. 
Here's how it went down:

Easy arrival, a lot of people, not much breathing on my part. Next thing I knew I had turned a corner and there it was, a magical scene in real time making all the photos I had ever seen seem irrelevant. 
There were no thoughts, simply deep breathing and stillness. There was no thinking, just seeing. I knew I was seeing something extraordinary, but it wasn’t till the next day (without the guide), that I could sit and take in the mountains and the clouds, the rain and the sunshine. It was then that my favourite mountain meditation come alive.

People may come and share in the majesty of the mountain.
Others may come and feel that it is not a good day to see the mountain, that it’s too cloudy or too misty, hot or wet.
All of this matters little to the mountain, who is not affected by whether people like or not. Or the changing weather.
Through it all the mountain just sits there, being itself.

If we can bring this into our meditation practice we too can sit like the mountain, unaffected by the waves of expectations and disappointments. 

I've also uploaded a 10-minute meditation on my website, recorded in Chile. Find a quiet place to practice your breathing and become aware of your sitting. You can find it here, along with a 5-minute meditation. 

Happy Spring to you all.