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Tag: patience

Six reasons to meditate

Meditation

Every so often, I’ll be listening to a recitation of problems and I’ll say, “You know, I think meditation could really help with that.” And then I’ll get a list of reasons why the person I’m talking to can’t possibly meditate. (These are all real reasons.)

  • Their dog has dementia and wants to go outside every five minutes. (A five-minute meditation practice is perfectly valid.)
  • The apartment’s too noisy–someone’s car alarm is always going off. (It’s completely possible to meditate no matter the background noise–leaf blowers, fireworks, a thunderstorm. I do try to choose a quieter time if I can. No doubt every apartment complex, dorm, or other communal living space has its quieter times.)
  • Physical issues make sitting in the ‘proper’ position too painful. (My view is that the proper position is the one that allows you to meditate comfortably for the amount of time that yields the benefit you’re looking for. Insight meditation also recommends being comfortable. I once attended a day-long meditation retreat, and found that the grouchy monk running the retreat and I had different views on this. As I made myself comfortable, he shot me looks, and finally explained how wrong it was to do so–that if a fly, for example, lands on your nose while you’re meditating, you should simply allow it to sit there for as long as it likes. I was very comfortable with never returning to that meditation center. I believe a real spiritual leader won’t judge you, and neither should you judge yourself, if you decide that being comfortable while you meditate is right for you.)
  • They’ve tried it, but clearly have no talent for meditation, as they just can’t stop thinking no matter how hard they try. (There are a lucky few who have a natural talent for meditation–the rest of us get to get good at it the hard way, which starts off in exactly this way. As someone to whom a few things have come easily, I think it’s a salutary experience to keep working at something worthwhile despite no immediate signs of genius. I have read–and I believe this–that meditating with your mind running 100 miles an hour is still practice.)

So there are the excuses. If you haven’t yet committed to a meditation practice, here are a few reasons to meditate based on my own experience, that I hope will speak to you.

  1. Meditation is great for releasing what’s bothering you. When I’m feeling upset, I often try to make time to meditate ahead of schedule (typically after breakfast and before my shower in the morning, and before bed at night). Inevitably anything I’m upset or excited about will cross my mind as I meditate. When it does, I visualize packing several symbols of whatever it is into a helium balloon, and cutting the string.
  2. Meditation is also great practice for releasing judgment of yourself and the need to be perfect. It soon becomes apparent that thoughts enter your mind, that’s what they do, and it’s OK. Perfection, whatever that might be, isn’t possible, but awareness and recognition of what’s happening is. You simply recognize the thoughts, release them, and move on–nothing else is necessary. This works in real life, too–you notice something has gone off the rails a bit, take corrective action, and just keep moving.
  3. Once you’ve meditated for awhile, not only does ‘monkey mind’ rarely happen during meditation, but my experience has been that it fades considerably all the rest of the time too. I used to actually try to drum up thoughts in quiet moments, asking myself, ‘OK, what’s next?’ I don’t do that anymore, and there are nice quiet spaces in my mind pretty much all the time. Peace, in other words. Calm. Serenity.
  4. I find that meditating before bed generally puts me in the perfect frame of mind for sleep. Good sleep is pretty much impossible to overvalue.
  5. When I meditate, I’ve found that I’m much more patient and tolerant. It’s not unusual now for people to thank me for my patience. I’m not sure that happened even once in all the years I didn’t meditate.
  6. Studies have shown that violent crime decreases in the surrounding area when people meditate regularly. I love that a practice intended to benefit me and my own life, in combination with the practice of others I both know and don’t know, raises the vibration of our neighborhoods and cities such that harmful violence is prevented, and lives that could have been painfully disrupted or even ended, never are. Together, we can bring that about.

If you meditate, what benefits have you experienced?

This post is illustrated with the SoulCollage card I made today, Meditation.

SoulCollage® cards are for personal use, and are not for sale, barter, or trade.

You are a precious jewel

Jewel

You are a precious jewel. –lady at Lenscrafters

Our true nature is like a precious jewel: although it may be temporarily buried in mud, it remains completely brilliant and unaffected. We simply have to uncover it. –Pema Chödrön

Recently I visited my optometrist, and then went to Lenscrafters to get new lenses for my glasses made–with fabulous results! I can see much more clearly now. That little touch of prism correction is making all the difference.

I had to wait for a bit, and the woman who helped me thanked me for my patience. (This happens fairly regularly now, but I’m pretty sure that no one ever thanked me for my patience before I started meditating.)

We discussed various lens options, and I made my selections. She had me look directly into her eyes so she could measure the location of my retinas, so that my prescription could be exactly aligned with them. We were talking along about Lenscrafter kinds of things, and suddenly she said, “You are a precious jewel.” I thanked her, privately thinking this was a bit over the top, but keeping that opinion strictly to myself!

Back at home, mission accomplished, I sat down with a mug of hot green acai tea, put my feet up, and opened a magazine. The literal transaction of the Tibetan Buddhist honorific Rinpoche, I read, is “precious jewel.”

There it was, the very same phrase again. Perhaps I should pay attention! It crossed my mind that it must be interesting to have a job that requires you to gaze into the windows of others’ souls.

It’s true, you know … I am a precious jewel. We all are. And since you may not be going to Lenscrafters soon yourself, I’ll tell you right now … You are a precious jewel.

This post is illustrated with the SoulCollage card I finished tonight, You are a precious jewel.

SoulCollage® cards are for personal use, and are not for sale, barter, or trade.

Blooming in darkness

Patience

It’s become utterly clear to me as I’ve gotten older is that timing is everything. I know now that I must wait for the timing to be right, but I can’t say I always enjoy the process.

This is a SoulCollage card I made last year to represent Patience, and thriving even in non-ideal circumstances as I wait for better ones to flow to me. It’s hard to accept and yet absolutely a fact of life that what goes up must come down. The birth/death/regeneration cycle is an inescapable part of the deal. I’m always mindful when, say, someone is praising me to the skies, that the person won’t always be as high on me as they are at that moment. I know all of this, and I feel somewhat prepared for the inevitable.

Still, the down cycle, the Winter of life, can be difficult to welcome with open arms. But it is without doubt a necessary and integral part of the cycle that yields the things that I am able to welcome without reservation–the Spring of life, the birth of new and beautiful and joyous things.

Here’s a new reading of my Patience card from last night …

I am one who knows how to be patient, waiting for my time to act and be heard. That time is not yet, but it is soon–very soon.

I am one who blooms in darkness–the dark of Winter. I am one who knows what it is to be cold–and also how to warm myself at my own fire.

What I have to say to you about your current situation is that it will end–Spring will come. What I have to say to you is: Be patient, it will pay off. That is all.

Be kind

New tunes are in rotation on my inner guidance channel the last couple of days.

You have nothing to worry about. Be kind.

After eight years with the company, my manager finally had all she could take from Bob and others, as well as recent policy changes, and yesterday was her last day.

With more responsibility on my shoulders, I’m feeling frustrated with one or two people seemingly giving less than their best effort, with finding urgent tasks left undone that could easily have been completed, with blow-back from the narcissist on our team, and with my own set of well-nigh impossible tasks.

Predict the future with only extremely limited and inaccurate information available? Of course … why not? I’m on it, your estimates are coming right up.

Be kind.

I know that we all have different abilities, that patience, gentle coaxing, well-thought-out strategies, not to mention well-targeted prayers, will bring out everyone’s best. The tortoise and the hare have different gifts, both no doubt essential.

Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. –Jesus, as quoted in Matthew 10:16 (King James)

Breathe. Take time out for a cup of tea. Tune in to a helpful mantra. Ask for the help I need. Be grateful for all that’s right in my world. Be willing to be in non-judgment of others. Smile like the sun. These are my baby steps on the path to Zen.

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