Be a Light Unto Yourself!

Hey all! I just wanted to post a quick little recap about the NovaPrana meeting tonight at Reston Regional Library. We had a great turnout! We saw some returning friends, and we met a couple of new folks who we're gracious to share their ideas and perspectives. As I'm thinking back on it and processing the conversation, one thing (of many!) keeps coming back to me. Our mission at NovaPrana is to work with people in the Northern Virginia community to develop a meditative or mindfulness practice that they can do, where they are, within their lives. The way we do this is by offering events and opportunities for folks to gather, meet, and communicate with others who have either adopted mindfulness or a meditation practice, or who are newer to the practice and are interested in gathering a bit more information about it and feel they might get some guidance from a support network. Now here's the thing... no matter if you've had a practice for 40 years, or if you've tried it one time, we all have stories to tell, and these stories are the greatest gift.

We all come from different backgrounds and cultures, families and environments, we have different jobs and responsibilities, and we resonate in harmony with different frequencies. All of this is beautiful! What this means, however, is that we all may have different perspectives and approaches to developing our meditation practice, which may resonate with one person differently than another. By hearing these stories, experiences, hints, nuggets of wisdom, and bits of practical advice, we may find insights about ourselves. The four noble truths illuminate both the nature of the problem as well as the solution, and in so provide a clear path. However, it is your responsibility to walk that path. The Dalai Lama said, "The responsibility of your happiness is on your shoulders." How do we bear the weight of that? Well, the Buddha said, “Be a light unto yourself; betake yourselves to no external refuge. Hold fast to the Truth. Look not for refuge to anyone besides yourselves.” What does it mean to be a light unto yourself? When someone describing their meditation experiences or approach, says something humbling to the effect of, "Hey, I’m just sayin’, this is what works for me,..." I see that as the true acknowledgement of light coming from within. It means that you are finding that the answer is within you, and the practice that you have to walk that path away from suffering is the one that you have found to be true for you. That's not to say that a little guidance isn't a good thing. A learned and experienced teacher is a invaluable thing! However, trust that you are able to walk that path, and that there is real value in trusting yourself to do so, but also know that there is value in trying new approaches and gathering ideas from others who are on the path as well. Sometimes, their light might shine brightly enough to help you find your way as well, and might show you, on occasion, that you're off the path. What's important is to keep at it with open ears and without judgement, and engage in the conversations that others can give to you.

When we say, as we do in our tagline, that we offer "Meditation and mindfulness experiences, workshops, and conversations in Northern Virginia," this is what we're talking about. Let's have those conversations. Let's hear your experiences and approaches. Our ears are open, and we're all on the path. Until next time, as Yolanda Williams says so often, "Practice your practice!." Here is another article that you can read about this very topic:

If you’re on Facebook, you can find our events listed here. If you’re more of a Meetup person, all of our events are also listed there as well. Click here to check that out if it works for you. All events are also listed on the website. I hope to see you soon! Comments are on, as always!