"Mindfulness Practice isn't just about escaping to some magical inner realm devoid of life's challenges. The Practice is about getting out of your head enough to engage each moment wholeheartedly. When we are Present in an open, kind, clear, and helpful way, the vast, mysterious, magical reality of life itself becomes self-evident .

Your MMM Courtesy Wake Up Call:
Musings on Life and Practice
by a Longtime Student of Meditation

Sunday, April 21, 2013

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

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.


It's not unusual for us to feel a whole bevy of feelings when faced with the reality of such horrific events.  Although there is an increasing awareness that there is a need for all those immediately touched by such tragedies to process the resulting feelings and thoughts in a healthy and constructive way,  all too often most of us just plod ahead in our busy life not appreciating fully that we also have been touched by these events--and have a need to heal.

JoAnna Macy (http://www.joannamacy.net/)
Over the years I've found that Tonglen Practice provides a way to keep one's heart open and one's mind clear, to embrace life's inevitable tragedies and hardships in a healthy and constructive way.  The modern adaptations of this ancient Tibetan Buddhist meditative technique offered by such contemporary teachers as Pema Chodron, Stephen and Ondrea Levine, and JoAnna Macy have been incredibly useful in transforming what is so often feared and repressed into the energy of renewed commitment and action in our lives.  Although I had first been introduced to Tonglen as complex sequence of visualizations, retreats with the Levine's and JoAnna Macy provided me with a chance to see that the essence of Tonglen, like many practices, can be incorporated into the realities of our everyday life--on or off the zafu!  As a longtime activist, I've found that Tonglen has helped me and countless others to still "Imagine all the people living life in Peace!"--and try to do something about it!
On Monday, April 22, I'll be dedicating Monday Morning Mindfulness as a time and space to explore our own reactions to the events of this past week in a healing way.  Although most of the Early Bird Meditation at 7 AM and the Stretch and Sit Session at 8 AM will be held in silence (unless those who attend want more) at 9 AM I will be introducing Tonglen Practice and offering a period of Guided Meditation focusing on the events in Boston as part of the Introduction to Meditation group.  I hope you'll be able to join us!  

As always, MMM is free and open to all.  All donations will go to Community Yoga and Wellness Center.

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