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Community Spotlight: Jill Faulkner

Jill Faulkner
Where do you live?

Austin, TX

How did you come to meditation?

Through working on my relationship with myself and seeking out the tools and resources to support that journey, meditation seemed like it could be a great addition. It was also through yoga practice that I came to learn more about meditation, and the desire grew to get a deeper understanding and really implement a practice.

What inspires you to meditate?

Being still and in silence always feels so nice for me, so it makes we want to do it more. I’ve also noticed a significant shift in the way I am in the world, and how I show up for myself and those around me.

What does your meditation practice look like?

Some days it’s via yoga practice, some days when I walk my dog. Some days it’s journaling, or a guided meditation, and some days it’s a few minutes to just sit quietly.

Do you have any rituals or routines that support your practice?

Lately I’ve been listening to the same guided meditation, which has helped (hello decision fatigue!). I also show up to meditate as though it were a meeting with myself and God. This approach came from my therapist, and it has made it easier to sit each day. I pretend I’m sitting there in a meeting, checking in. And, though not consistently, I’m always game for a candle, or some incense!

How is your life different because of meditation?

Generally my life feels more peaceful. Now I can more easily thwart negative thoughts, get back to my breath, and remember that it is okay, and that I am okay. Meditation has also brought some really wonderful people into my life. I also feel like I bring an energy to new friends, or groups, that make them feel at ease, which makes me feel great!

What are the biggest challenges you have encountered in your practice?

Consistency has been the biggest challenge. For a period of time as well, I put too much pressure on my meditations to reveal answers, or secrets I’ve been searching for. Not fair to meditation (and not fair to me)! I was really wanting to get something out of it, and forgot that the journey is what we get out of it – and that can catalyze some real change.

What advice would you share with someone who is just starting a meditation practice?

Apply no pressure! Sit for 30 seconds, 30 minutes, whatever feels good for YOU. Don’t mind the thoughts that come through, I guess that’s the whole point. Life is going to continue to happen, our thoughts will continue to be there, and meditation will help us navigate all of that as our best self making sure we are acting for our highest good, and the highest good of all concerned. Have fun with it, too! Try an app, try silence, try journaling, try nothing. You’ll know what’s going to work best for you <3

What does your heart most long for?

Love.

Jill Faulkner is the founder of Stick With It Co. Stick With It Co. is in the business of helping people focus on the relationship they have with themselves. Using affirmations on sticky-notes as a tool, our mission is for people to wholly, unabashedly, and guiltlessly love themselves. 

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My Work as a Human Being

My work as a human being is to quiet my mind, open my heart and do what I can to relieve the suffering with as much wisdom, skill, whatever I got.

– Ram Dass

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Community Spotlight: Kirk Miller

Where do you live?

Austin, TX

How did you come to meditation?

I discovered meditation out of that empty place where so many awakenings are born….that place called rock bottom. That was the place where I found myself after finally reaching the “American Dream.” In the course of one year, I lost it all, job, family, beautiful home, almost my life. From that place of complete brokenness, I rented a one room apartment overlooking a tranquil river, bought a nice chair, faced it out over the water and began being silent and writing and meditating. I decided I was not leaving there until I found peace.

What inspires you to meditate?

The taste of stillness that I have found. The quietness.

What does your meditation practice look like?

I have started waking up and simply sitting in silence for 30 minutes. Usually, after breakfast I consistently do my meditation practice. Throughout the day and my life I find meditation in writing, being out on a trail, being on my paddleboard on the water, yoga most days, tai chi and qigong practices. Although I have found nothing to compare with playing at a park with a five year-old.

Do you have any rituals or routines that support your practice?

Being part of Dakini’s Teacher Training program has certainly supported my practices. Being a very unscheduled, artistic personality, setting a morning practice at the same time each day has enabled me to develop a consistency, like brushing my teeth. I now also meditate 30 minutes to an hour prior to sleep, which bookends a day of life in the world.

How is your life different because of meditation?

Meditation increasingly has helped me develop a calm, spaciousness around myself within the world. Most things do not phase me anymore and I attribute this to meditation. Friends and family have found me to be a more calming presence than the person I was a decade ago. Meditation has also taken me much deeper into myself, which at times can be very painful. But I become aware that this part of me would have been buried there had I not taken time to acknowledge it and sit with it. I think these are the deeper waters.

What are the biggest challenges you have encountered in your practice?

I have a very busy and active “monkey mind” like so many other people. Some days my active mind wins the day. However, it is with the consistency of meditation daily over long periods of time that I begin to notice and become aware of a greater change taking place.

What advice would you share with someone who is just starting a meditation practice?

My greatest encouragement would be to commit to yourself the gift of consistently sticking with it for at least 30 days. Even if you can only sit for 5 minutes at the same time each day for 30 days, something will have happened and you will long for more. Everyone has an active mind. Do not let that deter you in the beginning from sticking with the practice.

What does your heart most long for?

My heart longs for others to find freedom from deep suffering. Once you have witnessed this up close and personally, you will be forever changed. You will know what Buddhism refers to as the “quivering heart” of compassion. To know this suffering exists on some level for so many is a suffering that I long for others to be freed from. I am learning that this freedom can only begin for others as I begin to free myself from my own suffering. Meditation has offered this path to freedom.

Kirk is offering two opportunities in May to take his series “Mind Like Water,” one locally in Austin at Meditation Bar, and one online through Mind Oasis

meditate with kirk on mind oasis

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Opening to Your Energy

Opening to our energy with gentleness and kindness allows us to develop unconditional confidence and a tender heart or maitri. We uncover our strengths and let them shine! We radiate a natural brilliance, our authentic presence.

~ Irini Rockwell

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Five Wisdom Energies

Intro to the Five Wisdom Energies

Each of us expresses a unique mixture of energy through our thoughts, emotions, attitudes, and actions. Although we often think of the world and our bodies in terms of our physical existence, it is the underlying energy that brings to life the quality, texture, and feeling of our actual experience. Meditation is about getting in touch with that basic energy, and through that energy cultivating a more intimate relationship with ourselves and our experience.

What are the Five Wisdom Energies

The Five Wisdom Energies offer a framework for cultivating a greater understanding of our own energy as well as how it arises in relationship to others.

Applying knowledge of the Five Wisdom Energies allows us to alleviate confusion and negative emotions, and invite clarity and wisdom to arise in their place. We do so by working with the energy of our bodies and minds. It is important to consider how the spiritual practice rests within the physical practice. That is to say, how meditation practice helps us to become more grounded and present in our lives–physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

The Five Wisdom Energies are grouped into five “families” known as Buddha, Karma, Ratna, Padma and Vajra. Each Wisdom Energy is connected with particular elements, energies, and emotions. The way we hold our bodies in meditation and the way we breathe strongly influences the movement of energy in our bodies and our minds. The practices associated with each of the Wisdom Energies are designed to create a container that is conducive to awakening our innate wisdom.

The Buddha Family

The Wisdom Energy known as the Buddha Family is associated with the element of Space and a felt sense of spaciousness. If this energy is out of balance, we might feel spacey or like there is not enough space in our lives. When this energy is in balance, we might feel open and available to meet life as it is. The Wisdom associated with the Buddha Family is called All Encompassing Wisdom, and when this energy is in balance, we may feel open, spacious, and available to meet life as it is in each moment.

In his book Healing with Form, Emptiness, and Light, Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche writes: “Everything arises from space, exists in space, and dissolves into space. In us that sacred element of space manifests as awareness. Experience is what arises in awareness, as the content of awareness, but it is not something other than awareness. When the space element is balanced in us, there is room in life; whatever arises can be accommodated. There is enough time, enough emotional capacity, enough tolerance.”

Suggestions for Connecting with the Wisdom Energy of the Buddha Family
  • In meditation practice, settle into stillness and connect with space. Let go of the need to grasp to a specific meditation technique and just open fully to whatever you are experiencing. Play with keeping your eyes open and raising your gaze and/or allowing your hands to rest palms up on your thighs.
  • When walking outside, take time to look at the sky. Open yourself fully to the vast expanse of the sky and feel that expansiveness in your body. Discover in yourself what the yogi Milarepa taught: “The body is ultimately like a cloudless sky.”
  • In daily life, take time to pause and open your awareness to the world around you. Resist the temptation to fill up any open spaces with unnecessary activity (checking your phone, facebook, chit chat, etc…) Pause and breathe and notice what you are present to.

If you’d like to learn more about the Five Wisdom Energies, please join Kelly online via Mind Oasis for a 6 week series of meditation classes beginning Tuesday, April 9th. Kelly will also be offering a 5 week women’s group at Dharma Yoga in Austin beginning April 14th.

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Perspective

You can’t always change circumstances in the moment, but you can change perspective in the moment, and that moment can make all the difference.

~ Adam B. Smith

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