Mollie Player is an author, mystic, reader and mother. Mollie describes herself as a regular person who’s nevertheless trying to do a few really hard things: overcome depression forever—and maybe get enlightened, too. Her plan: read as many helpful books as she can, then implement their advice—and pass along everything she learns along the way.
Here she talks to LWP about her book the Power of Acceptance, what meditation means for her and her personal meditation practice.
What is the best thing about meditation for you?
What I love—what keeps me going—is the feeling. The feeling of peace and well-being. It happens as soon as I close my eyes—suddenly, I just know I’m okay. If I’m quiet, I can feel tingling, too, particularly in my palms and my arms.
And that’s it. That is why I meditate. And to rewire my brain to become a happier, more positive person. And to connect with my inner being. And to disidentify with the mind.
I should also say that I have come to agree with Subhan that in spite of my great appreciation for it, this “feeling the feeling of feeling good” meditative state is not all that it could be. I would love to experience the moments of true disidentification with the mind that he and others describe, and the feeling of transcendence that goes with it. This, to me, would be a meditative state of a higher order—really, a taste of enlightenment.
What is the hardest thing about meditation for you?
The hardest thing by far is trusting that the time is not wasted. Also, I miss being able to meditate for longer stretches like I did when I had only one kid.
Are you good at meditation?
I suck at meditation, actually. My mind wanders a lot, and part of me still thinks I’m not doing it right. But I’m really good at controlling my anger, at forgiving and being patient. At this point in my life those things are more important to me than any so-called spiritual practice. I love my husband completely. I love my kids completely, and my other family and friends. I accept them exactly as they are. And I love myself, too. The meditation will come. It takes time.
Describe your meditation practice.
My current meditation practice starts with a prayer—the same one every day—in which I repeat a handful of simple words that to me feel highly creative, energetic, and meaningful. I acknowledge that this prayer was inspired partly by Anne Lamott’s book, Help, Thanks, Wow as well as by Joe Vitale’s Zero Limits.
It is this:
Angels, guides, God and all there is,
Thank you. Thank you.
I repeat each of these stanzas as many times as feels good.
Stanza One is more a prayer than a meditation. In it, I ask the Universe to help me successfully handle whatever life circumstances I’m currently experiencing. It’s my way of getting the stuff of life off my mind so I have a better chance of entering the meditative state.
Stanza Two is the most important. It is my acceptance prayer. With “notice” I remind myself to observe my thoughts all day, particularly the neurotic ones, thus separating myself from them a step or two. With “accept” I remember to truly and fully embrace whatever comes my way that day—that whatever is, is perfect.
Stanza Three takes acceptance a step further, reminding me to surrender my will to the will of the Universe totally. I choose to let go of the need to control, to dictate each moment, and instead to “flow” with the current of life. When appropriate, I ask for guidance from my higher self regarding various decisions and actions.
Stanzas Four, Five and Six are my payoff stanzas, the ones I look forward to after the work of the first three is done. With them, I move away from asking and reminding and towards the state of love and meditation. It is no longer necessary for me to do anything or give anything; with these words, I am simply being.
With “love” and “give” I imagine love energy moving around and through me. I send this energy to anyone nearby or in my thoughts. Similarly, “body” and “energy” remind me of the energy field of my body, which I visualize radiating from my higher self to the world. “Thank you” is a moment of pure gratitude for All That Is—even the things I don’t like so much. It is a thank you for hardships, for lessons, for growth, as well as for my many blessings. Finally, I say “life,” my favorite word for God, to remember the All that surrounds me every day.
After this prayer, which I usually say during exercise, I do a short sitting meditation—five to fifteen minutes, maybe more. Sometimes I simply watch my thoughts, as Subhan taught me. No judgment, no failure, no perfection, no regrets. I just sit, “seeing what my mind is up to,” as Anthony once perfectly put it, noticing what comes up.
Other times, I do an energy or mantra meditation.
I love my mantras. I love my energy technique, and hey, I learned it from Eckhart Tolle, the best. But these days no matter which technique I use, I emphasize separating myself from my mind. Feeling good is no longer my goal for my fifteen minutes or so on the floor. Becoming a little better at watching my thoughts, retraining my brain to automatically understand that my mind is not me—that is my only real goal. The idea is that the more I do this, the easier it will become.
Practicing, really, is my goal. And even that, I must hold lightly.
My practice is enhanced greatly by activities like exercise, reading and friendship that help me stay mentally and physically healthy.
Why did you choose your current meditation practice?
As I wrote previously, toward the end of last year, I chose to drop all meditation goals and expectations. A few months later, however, I softened this perspective and decided to make a loose daily plan. Goals and resolutions are one thing, I decided; systems and habits are another.
The practice I eventually created appealed to me on several levels. I loved the ease of it, the ability it gave me to jump right in at any time, without an extra several moments of deliberation about what to say or pray. I loved the practice itself, which was and is something that speaks to my precise individual needs. But the nicest aspect by far is its thoroughness. As a decidedly Type A person, I really, really wanted to find a daily routine that reminded me of all of the most important ideas to live by. It’s like a cheat sheet for life.
Would I say my new method is working wonders for me? No, I wouldn’t. Not really. Then again, I’m not spending a ton of time every day doing it. I started this book with the idea that when it comes to spiritual practice, consistency, not perfection, should be my primary goal. Unfortunately, that just hasn’t happened yet. With my new practice I feel that it’s been much, much easier to be consistent. As I said before, I now have a set jumping-in point each day—a ritual, a starting point, a habit. With it, I’m able to bypass the effort of decision making, which is usually the greatest effort of all. That said, it’s only been three months using it, and I have a long way to go and much to learn. I look forward to sharing more of my progress with you.
What are some of the things you wish you knew about meditation and spirituality that you don’t yet know?
I want to know more about super spiritual people—what they think about, how they live, what they do. Do they care what people think of them at all? When and how do they pray? Do they ask for guidance regarding each decision, each movement? How did they learn total acceptance?
One of my other big, big questions, which I plan to explore at length in either the next book in this series or the one after that, continues to be the question of which meditation practice is truly best for me. In other words: After I say my meditative prayer, what “real” meditation technique should I use? Energy visualization? A mantra? Or would it be better to simply observe my thoughts as Subhan suggests, adding nothing?
It’s a much more complex question than I once thought. With the beginner’s mind I describe in this book I was happy to simply do what Tolle suggested, and what I discovered on my own: Sensing the inner body while saying a mantra and “feeling the feeling of feeling good”. But is this the best possible option? If I could experience what Subhan describes that I called a taste of enlightenment, that would be worth giving up my mantras for, and the immediate gratification that comes with them.
Can I do meditation my way, and still get the results I want? Or is there something I could spend my precious time on that’s better?
Acceptance. Acceptance, acceptance. Until you truly accept another person, your love for them is conditional; sometimes you feel it, sometimes you don’t. After you decide to stop fighting them, forcibly changing them, even the things you once considered flaws are welcomed. After all, these so-called imperfections are your greatest (and most convenient) opportunities to grow and to learn. Even if you later choose to move on from that person or situation, you can do so with gratitude and love.Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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Thanks so much for posting this! I love the new site. Please do keep in touch. And readers interested in reading about *spiritual practices for depression* (and getting an honest take on whether or not they work) can see me at mollieplayer.com. Much love.
Thank you! And I’m sure they’d find much benefit in doing so. Love & best wishes.