It is snowing a gentle, soft bit here today. There is much to do, but the quiet hum of the washing machine and a pot of jasmine tea invite me to pause.
I am one month deep into my word for 2014, integrity. It's funny how sometimes when we become deliberate and mindful, opportunities float our way.
A few weeks ago, I began a five week workshop on meditation. A dear friend is leading it, and I had been wanting to rededicate myself to improving my practice. We are using Sharon Salzberg's book Real Happiness, The Power of Meditation to support our exploration. After two weeks of sitting nearly daily, these are some things I have been grateful for...
As I sit down to meditate and the chatter in my mind takes a long time to settle down, Sharon's words remind me that with every breath we can begin again. I have embraced this compassionate message. When our meditating minds wander, we can begin again, with the very next breath. We can, actually, begin again whenever we need to, even when we are not sitting to meditate. Whenever I find myself flustered or challenged or stressed, I try to remember to take three deep breaths and begin again. This simple practice makes life so much easier! Beginning again is such a compassionate way to treat ourselves. No judgement, no shame, no regret...just begin again.
And this sentence, from the first chapter in Sharon's book jumped off the page and has been my mantra ever since. Distractions waste our energy; concentration restores it to us. Oh, yes, yes, yes please! Let me continue to work on this one! It is OK to do lots of things in a day...just let's concentrate on one*thing*at*a*time, shall we?
Our group meets once a week to discuss the chapter, to check in on our progress and to do a bit of meditating as a group. I like the accountability and support I have found with this group of strangers, who are becoming friends as we practice together.
If you have a practice of meditating, how does it help you live a saner life? If you don't have a practice now and if you might like to try meditating, I recommend Sharon's book to you. If you follow the link, you will find sample audio sessions there that you might like to try.
P.S. Suz, I thought of your blog title as I wrote this post. xo