"Mindfulness Practice isn't just about escaping to some magical inner realm devoid of life's challenges. The Practice is about progressively opening your heart and calming your mind enough to engage Life directly, to be more fully Present in a kind, clear, and helpful way."

Your MMM Courtesy Wake Up Call! Musings on Life and Practice by a Long-time Student of Meditation.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Meandering Mindfully,,,,,,

Here's a piece I wrote for the Intro to Meditation class last week:

Dear MMM Folks,

A number of times this week I found myself thinking about last week's session.  In each instance I noticed the intention to reach out and "review" a couple of things.  (That's what I get the big bucks for, right?)

One image that came to mind repeatedly in the days that followed MMM was Stephanie's playful assertion that "she was bad" because she hadn't meditated during the week. My heart glowed as I remembered the kind and compassionate laughter that emerged in the moment that followed. It felt like we all could relate--on many levels--to her comment.

In the meandering discussion that emerged during that day's "check in",  I never got back to fully express what that moment had brought to mind. So days later, here it is:

As best I can see it, the Practice isn't necessarily about going the whole nine yards and creating a special time and place to meditate each day.  It's really not about forcing ourselves to fight the patterns of our life,  to be "good" as opposed to being "bad".  The Practice is just deciding to gently move towards noticing-- as fully as we can--our Life as it emerges in any one moment.

Although cultivating a  formal practice is wonderful and I encourage each of you to create the space and time in your lives to Sit (or Stand or Lie Down or Walk or......), Mindfulness can and does occur in and of itself at any moment.  It can emerge as just taking one conscious breath in the midst of the day.   It can emerge as we open the door and feel the doorknob in our hand; noticing the texture of the metal, feeling the motion of our arms and legs as we pass through the Portal.

Mindfulness can and will certainly emerge as we Sit in "formal" meditation at a home altar with incense burning.  Yet it also emerges at the moment that we notice the warmth of the sun on the back of our necks as we walk down the street. It can happen as we remember to actually feel our feet on the earth as we walk in the park, yet it may "just happen" as we meet the eyes of a friend--or a stranger--and feel the Connection made.  Those simple moments of Presence are available to each of us--with or without our intention.  We may not even notice that we notice!  (When I first read that in the Genjokoan, a classic Zen text, I thought "Damn! How cool is that?)

So, if that's the case, why bother?  Why Practice?  That is a classic theme that is reflected through a great many Zen koans and stories.

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Sunday, April 21, 2013

"Imagine all the people living life in Peace..."
               --John Lennon, 
"Imagine"    


My partner Betsy came into the kitchen with tears in her eyes yesterday morning.  "Oh that poor boy.  He had such a sweet face.  What happened to him?  Such a tortured soul!!"

I quickly learned that she, like many of us, had been on the web following the events in Boston, trying to make sense of the senseless acts of violence that had erupted.  Like most of us, she a felt a deep grief as the drama unfolded.  Like few of us, perhaps, she felt a deep compassion--not only for the victims of the horror--but for the two tortured souls that somehow believed that violence was the "right thing to do." The "poor boy" of her lament, was the younger brother, Dzhokar Tsarnaev.  She had just seen his photograph.

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