It truly made my heart expand at least 3 sizes to see Griffin and my dad connect at such a meaningful level. And it made me appreciate even more the slower pace of summer, which seems to make moments of connection like these more likely.
And boy, are we savoring the last moments of summer – Griffin goes back to school (in the 6th grade no less) next week!
Do you ever feel this way? That life is generally so busy, busy, busy that when you find that little pocket of slowness you just want to stay there forever?
Of course, we can’t ever stay in any one place forever, but this blog post shares how you can stay in a place of peace and calm.
Even better, once you learn that, you can figure out how to string together more and more moments so that you feel more centered and present much more of the time.
There is a popular interpretation of ancient Eastern wisdom on meditation that, in my understanding, gets things turned totally upside down.
This popular view says that meditation helps us cultivate a state of “no thought” and this is desirable because we shouldn’t have strong feelings.
We should be “Zen” or “peaceful” – and those words are used as if they were synonyms for “blasé” or “unaffected.”
But what I like most about meditation is that it helps me realize that my thoughts are there, that they come in an endless murmuring stream, and that this stream flows on outside of my essential self. In other words, meditation gives me an opportunity to notice that I am not my thoughts.
So I think of meditation as a time to develop a relationship with my thoughts, and to learn that they no longer have the power to define me.
Through meditation, I’ve also learned that I get to choose my response to the self-critical thoughts that “think themselves,” and that makes all the difference between having a bad day and having a satisfying day.
I love what Susan Piver said about non-attachment:
“Non-attachment doesn’t mean not feeling things or always being blasé. It means feeling everything while not attributing permanent status to anything.”
Try this exercise sometime: become aware of any thought or feeling you’re having at this moment and I bet you’ll notice pretty quickly that you can’t hold on to it.
Another thought (or 10!) will vie for its place and eventually win.
A feeling of bliss will change to boredom. A feeling of discomfort will change to ease.
A burning anger will change to regret, and eventually, if we are truly grounded and present, to forgiveness.
No one knows exactly how or when the thought of this moment will change. But it will change.
So meditation practice is the practice of meeting each of your feelings without trying to hold onto it (Oh, this feels good, I want to stay with this one) or trying to change it (Ugh, awful, I want to get rid of this one).
Meditation is the practice of simply letting them be.
Until they change or pass. And they all change or pass eventually.
As Rumi wrote:
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
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