Surviving The Holidays: A Meditation

"Root Chakra: Identity"
16"x 20" mixed media on canvas.
It's that time of year again. The holiday season may begin with Thanksgiving, but the holiday headaches start long before that.

For many of us, the Thanksgiving break is more work than our actual careers. We return home only to our families morph us into teenage versions of ourselves, complete with all the judgments and restrictions. We may have been gone for 5 years or 20. Yet all it takes is one passive-aggressive comment or one overt glare to send the tension soaring.

So how do you survive the holidays?

This year, I suggest a meditation by Osho. Yes, I know he's a rather controversial figure. Osho is the greatest rockstar guru the West has ever known, complete with a history of groupies and wild lifestyles. He is the result when the Eastern and Western religions clash with a mediative bang. Osho specialized in teaching based on Tantra, the path of enlightenment through pleasure. Unfortunately, Westerners continue to view Tantra as a purely sexual practice despite the thousands of ancient manuscripts in existence saying otherwise. But since the Kama Sutra still remains the first Tantric-based book Westerners come across, this misunderstanding is hardly surprising.

That said, I consider Osho to be a great source of knowledge regarding meditative techniques and the practice of Yoga. "The Book of Secrets" is my favorite work by Osho. It contains 112 meditations that can conquer even the most stubborn of subliminal blockages. So whatever your opinion of Osho, the rockstar guru teaches methods that I have found to be extremely effective in my own practice.

Lesson 47 in "The Book of Secrets" is vital for the holiday season. 

Osho writes:

"Use your name as a mantra. 
Enter the sound of your name
and, through this sound, 
all sounds."

This method works to establish calm in two ways. The first is that saying your name internally is something we rarely do. The curious thing is that if you call yourself by your given name, you immediately come across mental blockages. You'll find there are entire suitcases of negativity attached subconsciously to your name and traveling with you wherever you go.

Pause for a moment and think about the way your name is said during the holidays in that tone. You know the one. It's the tone that sets your teeth on edge because you know some sort of drama with your loved ones will inevitably follow it.

The way your name is said in that tone automatically conjures up every single fear, hatred and hurt you've carried since childhood. Some of us run from this name for this very reason. We don't allow people we meet now to call us by that name. Many of us will have a nickname to further distance ourselves from the title of our identities.

Woe to the person who doesn't know this rule about you. Hearing that name from people saying it without permission is like having your jacket snatched off by a stranger. Suddenly, you are exposed in a way you didn't want to be. You start to remember the feelings you want to forget.

At that point, the realization should dawn that your name has become a prison of sorts. Yet it doesn't. We go on running from our given name and its baggage. We shrug off dealing with it. Then we casually say to people we meet, "Oh, I actually go by "_____."

And that's exactly what our chosen nickname is - a blank space with the associations only we have chosen to give it. We own that blank space and paint it in the colors we believe ourselves to truly be.

Osho writes:

"If you can create the sound so continuously 
that the meaning is lost, 
mind is lost, 
the rock at the bottom of your heart 
will be removed."

If we can call ourselves by our given name and unpack the luggage associated with it, we can stop the unconscious blockages we have in the Root Chakra. Many of us are sleeping through the issues in this chakra, all of which are connected to our personal identity and how we relate to external existence. Our subconscious mind forgets nothing. It resides there in the infinite with heart-chakra eyes wide open, aware of everything we deny in our daily lives.

This denial is the core of the conflicts we have with our families and friends during the holiday season. We experience a type of "acting out" from the subliminal reality of unhealed wounds and unspoken truths our hearts carry. Thus the cycle of negativity keeps going year after year, making us dread the six-week period between Thanksgiving and New Year's.

So this year, I'm asking you to reclaim your Real Name. 

Sit in lotus or your preferred meditative pose for a minimum of five minutes. During that time, repeat your name slowly. Be silent for a count of 5. Repeat.

During the silent count of 5, acknowledge the feelings that arise. As you count, fall into them. Picture yourself descending through the haze of emotion like one falls through a cloud. Maintain a floating effortlessness. Do not try to grasp at the emotions. They are nothing more than thought constructs.

Keep this mantra of "name-silence-name" until there is no more tension in the body.

If you find you can't descend past the tension, stop after a few minutes. Ask yourself if you are angry, worried, or sad.

Then lie in corpse pose or your preferred position. Listen to Letting Go of Anger if you are upset. Listen to Release from Worry and Fear if you are anxious. Listen to Release from Emotional Pain if you feel sadness. Feel free to browse Divine White Light's entire collection to match the emotions you experienced during meditation. These are a must for meditative calm on the go.

________

Caution: If saying your name internally conjures intense flashbacks of severe abuse, neglect or trauma within your mind, stop this practice immediately and seek therapeutic counseling. These flashbacks are signals that your very identity has become tangled up in these memories. To move forward, you must deal with these issues with the help of a professional. Continued meditation in this state is ill-advised and may lead to a complete nervous breakdown, which is the most common result Westerners have when practicing meditation without a spiritual teacher or professional therapy.

________

If you are able to do this practice successfully, you'll find the holidays will go much smoother. You won't respond to those vocal cues that once sparked an argument. You'll smile when you find yourself face-to-face with that relative's glare. You will be able to leave the room with dignity rather than fleeing with shame or anxiety.

For the first time, you will see your relatives as they actually are instead of through the lens of their mistreatment of you. The first time I was able to do this was quite the revelation. Instead of getting angry as usual, I found myself feeling a strange sort of compassion. Most of the time, the relative in question didn't even know they were being obnoxious or hurtful. Some of the treatment was due to the person lashing out over internal struggles that actually had nothing to do with me. I was simply the most convenient target for the angst.

It was as if I was no longer sleeping in their presence. I was wide awake with my heart in my eyes seeing everything the way it had always been. And once I could do that, I could finally breathe easily in my own skin.

So this holiday season, I wish the same for you. 
Reclaim your name and see your loved ones as they are. 
You may be surprised by what you find.

Light, Love, and Peace on your path always. 


Respectfully, 
O.M.

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