About Gita Matlock

Gita Matlock is an author, spiritual teacher, humanitarian, mother, lifelong yogi, and leader at Ananda, a global organization dedicated to sharing light and uplifting consciousness. To follow her work, visit gitamatlock.com.

How to Support Others in Times of Loss

Grief is not a linear experience, it is not something that you leave behind. As a wise friend who lost her son in a tragic gun accident once said to me, “You do not move through grief, you move in it.” Grief does not recede like a tide, you never move past it. The goal of its recovery is not to let go, but to gain wisdom from the experience and learn to move in it with grace. Our losses do not need to define us, but they are the building blocks upon which our lives climb higher, our understanding grows deeper, and our compassion expands. Grief strikes us all as surely as death will call us home. At this moment, I write for the dozens who have lost loved ones in the fires that rage across California, for the countless who suffer from gun violence, domestic violence, and who sit beside loved ones in hospitals tonight. How can we support these souls in crisis? What can we say when faced with so much sorrow? On this topic I have failed miserably at times. I have nearly lost friendships for not understanding the depth of sorrow and the way to help. From these failures and from the times when I managed to succeed in helping in some small way, this is what I have learned: Create a safe space for your loved one to cry, to say the terrible things on her mind without judgement, to sit in silence. Try to say as little as possible and create a void for your loved one to fill with whatever needs to come out of her broken heart. Resist the impulse to fix her. Nothing you can say will heal the crushing grief of her heart, so do not expect that your wisdom can somehow heal her. Learn to be present with her pain and offer input only when called upon. Send loving energy to her as she speaks with you. Rather than fill the interaction with your ideas and words, fill it with your loving presence. Imagine a brilliant light surrounding her in love and healing rays. Give without expectation of receiving anything. In relationships, we often hold certain expectations of what our loved one will give in return for our love. When we experience loss, it is not a time to keep score. Let go the expectation that your loved one who is grieving can give back to you. As the grief integrates into her life, as she learns to move in it, you will need to create harmony and balance in your friendship anew. She has changed, as have you. Honor the change and discover the soul friend who now sits before you.   Gita Matlock is an author, spiritual teacher, humanitarian, mother, lifelong yogi, and leader at Ananda, a global organization dedicated to sharing light and uplifting consciousness. To follow her work, visit https://gitamatlock.com

2018-11-13T19:03:17+00:00 By |

Meditation for Kids: The Antidote to “Screen Time”

Children Can Tap Into Their Inner World and Find a Treasure Trove of Intuition, Happiness, and Peace   Children today are bombarded with an overwhelming amount of media. The average American child consumes a little more than two hours of screen time every. single. day. My kids get limited screen time. I am practical in my idealism and am not a purist about this issue, but it certainly concerns me. I can see their energy plummet after watching something and am often left wondering why I allowed it. In the “old days” TV ads were the family nemesis, transforming children into effective sales reps who used unfair tactics, especially the dramatic super-human-whine to convince their parents. The parents’ best defense was to turn off the boob tube. Alas, this is no longer a viable strategy. Now, media is everywhere, in our purse, our pocket, our car headrest. Ninety-eight percent of American households with children under eight years old have access to a mobile smart device, regardless of income, according to Common Sense Media. If we as parents are addicted; how can our children stand a chance against the lure of the hypnotic blue glow and the endless variety of engrossing entertainment? In an age when media is so pervasive and the numbers of children with depression and ADD/ADHT are skyrocketing, it is essential to provide the antidote to the insanity: meditation. Meditation is the antidote to screen time for many reasons. When we meditate, we use different neural pathways in the brain, which provides a completely different experience. We are able to concentrate, turn off our five senses and discover the more subtle and formative experiences found within. The inner world is a treasure trove of intuition, happiness, peace, and so much more. Unfortunately, it is drowned out by the over stimulation of this culture and time. It is important to introduce meditation with sensitivity and non-attachment to the results. If you want to encourage your children to meditate, the worst thing we can do as parents is impose our well-intentioned desires on them. The best way to get your child curious about meditation is to lead by example. There are many meditation techniques suitable for children. Here are a few of my favorites: Candlelight Meditation Help your child to light a candle and set it in front of her (or him, I just had to pick a pronoun). Invite her to sit up straight with legs crossed (we call it “crisscross apple sauce” at home). Ask her to watch the candle flame with eyes open for at least a few seconds or as long as she can sit calmly. Then, invite her to close her eyes and tell you if she can still see the candle behind her closed eyes. Listen closely to what she describes. Repeat the exercise, opening eyes and watching the candle quietly and then closing the eyes and describing what she sees with eyes closed. You can adapt this for [...]

2018-10-24T15:43:07+00:00 By |

Mindfulness Is Just the First Step: How to Change Mental Patterns

A Simple Guide to Developing an Affirmation Practice   I suffer from the mental pattern of spending inordinate amounts of time in thoughts of the future. Not the future thoughts that are helpful for planning your life direction. Instead, I wade through mountains of worries about the uncertainty that is inherent in the unknown future. So I launched into a self initiated “7 Day Now Challenge.” For seven days I wrote “Now” in big bold letters on my hand to remind myself to be present and here is what I learned: 1. There is great power in focusing on something for a finite period of time. Whether it is a 30 day exercise challenge or a 10 day cleanse, creating a bite-size increment of time to develop a new habit has the benefit of making a daunting task attainable. 2. Mindfulness creates a sense of detachment. When we move from being engrossed in our mental chatter to observing it, a sense of ease can move into the space created between the mind and the awareness. This space, this ease, can become a superpower. Enjoy this fabulous explanation video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6T02g5hnT4 3. Observing negative thought patterns does not actually change them. This lesson is revolutionary because it brings to light the innate limitation in mere observation of the mind. 4. To change the negative thought patterns, positive ones must take their place. As Marin Luther King declared so beautifully, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.” When we want to affect change in ourselves and in this world, we must invite the light. Replace negative thought patterns with positive ones. This is the practice of affirmations. Satirized by Stewart Smiley on SNL decades ago, positive affirmations are actually a profound practice. Here is a simple guide to developing an affirmation practice: 1. Create an affirmation for yourself. Look at the negative thought pattern you wish to change and turn it upside down. Write a positive statement that is brief, memorable, and in the present tense. For instance, I took this recurring thought, “What if I never achieve anything?” and turned it into this affirmation, “Success is mine. Divine Mother guides my life.” 2. Write your affirmation down and place it around your home. 3. Bring your affirmation into your meditation. At the end of your daily meditation practice, repeat your affirmation three times mentally, or even audibly. If you do not meditate daily, find a quiet moment each day to say your affirmation. In the bathroom, in the kitchen, in your closet, any moment of solitude will do fine for repeating your affirmation. Here are a few of my favorite books filled with ready-made affirmations: Affirmations for Self-healing by Swami Kriyananda Finding Happiness Day-By-Day by Swami Kriyananda Whispers From Eternity by Paramhansa Yogananda https://gitamatlock.com

2018-10-19T11:43:15+00:00 By |

5 Secrets to Sustain a Daily Meditation Practice

A Journey to a Daily Meditation Practice!   I learned to meditate as a child and my parents are lifelong meditators. I began to take my own practice more seriously when I was 20, but it wasn’t until nine years later that I was really meditating every day. It was an uphill battle, but I can say without hesitation that it has changed my life for the better. Daily meditation is a “pearl of great price” that I don’t take for granted. It’s the most important thing I do each day. Meditation makes me a more intuitive, loving, calm, and joyful person. It allows me to cut through habitual thought patterns and create new ones that result in an ever-more fulfilling life. From a scientific standpoint, meditation creates stronger neural pathways in my frontal lobe, the seat of “executive function” and problem solving. Esoterically, it draws my consciousness toward my spiritual eye, the seat of wisdom. Here are a few hard-won lessons that I found on my journey to a daily meditation practice: 1. Create a sacred space. Somewhere in your home, find a way to carve out a little place to call your own and dedicate it to your practice. Keep your space beautiful and be sure you have what you need: a chair or pillow, layers for warmth, a candle or soft light, pictures that inspire you (nature, saints, sacred places, etc), objects that you consider sacred, and uplifting smells like incense or essential oils. Make your sacred space appeal to all five senses in an uplifting way. 2. Choose a time of day (or two). Stick with a schedule. Even if it’s not a specific time, try to select an order for meditation in your daily flow. For me, it is when I first wake and before sleep. Of course, with my two small kids, it’s not always that simple, but my husband and I work as a team to make meditation happen for both of us. 3. Never miss your meditation. Even if all you have energy for is to sit on your cushion and take a few long breaths or say a prayer, just do it. Like your daily ritual of brushing teeth, habit is your friend, but it is only going to work if you make it real. I haven’t missed a day brushing my teeth in my entire adult life; so this can be the same! I have two children under five years old; I know tired, I’m with you. But don’t let your ego get you down in the dumps with the “I’m so tired, I deserve to go to bed,” argument. Just sit up straight, even in bed, take a few yogic breaths (filling the belly and then the lungs with air), fix your gaze toward the horizon behind closed eyes, and rest there for a few minutes. It will send you into the day, or into sleep, with a higher state of consciousness. 4. Find [...]

2018-10-15T12:04:19+00:00 By |