As cultural shifts come into play, acceptance for the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) population is growing. Part of this shift means more welcoming environments for a diverse community within spiritual traditions, including meditation groups.
Meditation is often coupled with practices such a tai chi, qigong and yoga to develop a strong mind-body connection, and these practices prepare the body and mind for the benefits that meditation offers.
Meditation can create a positive influence in your everyday life, and can also be helpful when dealing with issues specific to the LGBT community. Developing a consistent habit of meditation can stabilize responses to discrimination, both direct and systematic. In addition to keeping yourself grounded in stressful situations, meditation can ease aggression, as well as decrease anxiety, fear and worry.
Additionally, the health benefits offered by meditation are widely known: reduced blood pressure, respiration and heart rate along with relief from feelings of stress both in the body and mind. Regular practice has been shown to improve the immune system and neurotransmitter function as well.
As we open to deeper levels of ourselves through meditation and make mindfulness a habit, we begin to know ourselves in new ways that put forth the best that we as individuals have to offer the world. The quality of our own acceptance of others can be strengthened through that practice. If we learn to face conflicts of difference with patience and understanding, we allow the world to reflect those qualities back to us.
To cultivate acceptance, inner peace and stillness, try the meditation below. Also, check your local community for class offerings where you will feel comfortable, accepted and encouraged on your journey of self-discovery.
Resolve Feelings of Conflict
With a few deep breaths, release any tension in your body and allow your mind to come to rest on any situation with which you are having difficulty.
Imagine that you are able to “zoom out” the focus on the situation and on anyone involved. Relax until you imagine that you are viewing the scene from a distance and that you can no longer hear any harsh words that may be spoken. Watch this scene in your mind.
Send Positive Energy
Send positive energy, to the interaction and allow understanding to pour in: Every person wants to be heard. Every person wants to be understood and accepted. Send love from your heart to the scene as you watch and imagine the energies intertwining.
Explore and experience these truths:
I understand that in this vast universe of possibilities, there is no basis for judging things as “right” or “wrong”.
I can choose to give weight to an issue, or I can operate from a healthy point of neutrality and choose my actions and responses in the “now” as they arise.
I am free, like every other person is, to participate in a journey that is based on my own perspective.
I have the ability to be strong in my beliefs and choices without needing to convince or explain to others.
Take a deep cleansing breath. Now, once again, imagine that you are “zooming out”, moving up and away, until you can no longer see the details at all. Release to a place and feeling of neutrality regarding the situation as you begin to view planet Earth from far out in space.
Feel love for the planet and its inhabitants as it shines in the heavens. Recognize the actual neutrality of planet Earth herself as we humans go about our lives, our conflicts and wars, and our loving deeds as well. Allow yourself to feel the “smallness” of our issues for a moment. Then bring your mind back to the peaceful view of our shining planet.
Allow your heart to feel love, your mind to experience “oneness” and your body to know peace. As you gather these feelings within, vow to carry the strength they bring with you as you relate to others and go about your day.