“…have a secure foothold when facing unexpected troubles.”
By coincidence—or not—my book group is reading a 2001 novel by Swedish crime/thriller author Henning Mankell, who wrote the “Wallander” series of books that were the basis for the TV series shown on PBS starring Kenneth Branagh as Kurt Wallander. However, this book, The Shadow Girls (released in the US and the UK in 2012), is a departure in genre in that it deals with the immigrant experience in Sweden. The central characters are a poet and three women refugees from different countries. I’ve just started reading it and don’t know where it’s going yet, but near the very beginning one young Nigerian woman named Tea-Bag reflects on her father back in her homeland and his technique for dealing with uncertainty: when confronted with a problem or anything he wasn’t prepared for, he planted his feet firmly on the ground to “have a secure foothold when facing unexpected troubles.”
What a wonderful, simple, yet empowering image—tapping into your inner strength by placing your feet on solid earth while an earthquake is happening inside you.
Even if we are unable to physically stand on our own two feet, at least for a while, we can still use this image to go within and find the only true source of security: ourselves. Those of us dealing with serious illness—or any kind of trauma that knocks us out of alignment—need to find ways to right ourselves again. Even if we can’t walk, we can still fly. Anything is possible for the mind and spirit.
“My security and peace are within.”
I used the word “coincidence” above because a new three-week meditation series began today hosted by Oprah Winfrey and featuring reflections and meditations by Deepak Chopra: Finding Your Flow. Today’s opening meditation focuses on “grounding”—finding your sense of security within.
As a sample, I have transcribed Deepak’s reflections from today’s meditation below. This series is available online for free—click the image to go to the registration page. Meditations remain available for five days. Previous meditation series are available for purchase. This is not an ad. 🙂
TRANSCRIPT: We’ve learned from neuroscience that specific brain regions take on the functions of different areas of life. There are areas for the five senses, for emotions, and for basic needs like hunger and sleep. Meditation directly affects these centers, which is why the most recent research indicates that within a few minutes of a person’s first meditation physical changes begin to appear, such as [in] heart rate, blood pressure, and hormone levels. Each day on this journey we will use meditation to awaken a different aspect of the self by responding to a specific brain response. In the spirit of the ancient wisdom traditions, we will use meditation to find our flow in life. There is a wellspring of deep, quiet, beautiful energy within, and when you unleash it, it will begin to shape your intentions, shape your thoughts—and especially [shape] your actions. For centuries, the road to this inner world and its spheres has been through meditation, which allows you to naturally access its hidden energy. Today, we will awaken the flow of security, a place inside you that knows only safety, peace, and a sense of grounding. Everyone has the basic need to feel safe. Without it, life feels insecure, and stress magnifies that insecurity. We also have a core of stability inside that we can return to throughout the ups and downs of everyday life. Once you experience this safe place inside, you have found the flow of security, the core of yourself that isn’t shaken by outer events. Centered in this place, you can access a sense of safety and security—even when you’re having a bad day or facing a personal challenge. Today is about grounding yourself with the energy of safety, security, stability, and peace. As we prepare to meditate together, let’s take a moment to consider our centering thought: My security and peace are within. My security and peace are within. [Bracketed words and emphasis are mine.]
Speaking of security, grounding, footholds, and walking, Part 2 of “Do you always have to do what the doctor says?” will be forthcoming soon. It tells the story of how I almost became a cripple by listening to a physician’s misguided advice. I am happy to say that today I can walk—and that I’ve learned a valuable lesson, which I will pass on. Stay tuned. Read Part 1.