Thursday, September 27, 2012

Ten minutes to change your life (really)

I think I've posted this before but, if I have, it's been quite a long time. What I want to share with you is a practice the Dalai Lama recommends. It's quite beautiful:
1. Spend 5 minutes at the beginning of each day remembering we all want the same things (to be happy and be loved) and we are all connected to one another.

2. Spend 5 minutes - breathing in - cherishing yourself and, breathing out - cherishing others. If you think about people you have difficulty cherishing, extend your cherishing to them anyway.

3. During the day extend that attitude to everyone you meet. Practice cherishing the simplest person (clerks, attendants, etc.) as well as the "important" people in your life; cherish the people you love and the people you dislike.

4. Continue this practice no matter what happens or what anyone does to you.

These thoughts are very simple, inspiring and helpful. The practice of cherishing can be taken very deep if done wordlessly, allowing yourself to feel the love and appreciation that already exists in your heart.
I happened to find a handout with this exercise on it as I was cleaning house a while ago. I'm really glad I did.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mindfulness, memory and reveiw

I found this exercise on "Meditation Station". This form of meditation makes a lot of sense. It is similar to Rob Nairn's instruction on "backtracking" that he talks about in Diamond Mind. I've also read about similar techniques offered by psychologists as a means of cultivating better memory. Let's all give this a try and see if it doesn't help us cultivate more ordinary mindfulness throughout our day! 

Every night, before falling asleep, review the events of the day. Start with the first thing you remember and then continue as if you were watching a movie starring you. Try to remember everything. For instance, you may remember the alarm going off and you turning it off, pulling down the blanket and swinging your legs over the side of the bed to get out of bed. You may have then walked into the bathroom and washed up prior to getting dressed. Try to remember every detail as precisely as possible. Don't simply rehash how you usually go through your life's routine but rather note each nuance. An example would be if you dropped the bar of soap when you were washing up or heard alarming news over the radio while brushing your teeth. Try to recall how you reacted physically, mentally, and emotionally to every event of the day. 

When you first try this technique, you may be amazed at how little you can recall. It may become obvious that you can easily recall highly emotional times like when you had an argument with a co-worker but you may not be able to remember anything about how you got to work. Similarly, if you had an accident in your car on the way to work, the events of that incident may be all you can remember. Anything that happened at work would be a blur. 

The more you do this "review of the day", the more you will start paying attention to your life as it takes place and the more you will be able to remember about the events that transpired. We all have a tendency to not pay anything but the most minimal attention to the here and now and instead spend our time rehashing the past and fantasizing about the future. This meditation technique can return our awareness of the present, which is the only time reality takes place, as well as bring an excitement and enthusiasm to our life. Think about a baby who is so amazed and fascinated with the newness of everything that occurs in every moment. We should be experiencing at least that exquisite a response to our moment-to-moment existence because each moment is absolutely unique and intriguing and since we are adults, we can ponder the remarkable way we are reacting to each event we experience physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. 

When we can pay attention to our life with a baby's intensity, we will also find that when we do our daily life review, our mind will replay it in a minute detail and completeness as if we had put our inner VCR on fast forward. In just a few minutes, we will be able to see every event that took place in the previous sixteen hours. This will occur because at this stage of our consciousness's evolution, our mind will be a tool we can use as reliably and more easily than any computer. 


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Dissolving fear

Did you ever think that gratitude could help dissolve fear? See what the wonderful website has to say about that:
Peace, rightly understood, is inseparable from gratefulness. When we are grateful, we peacefully accept what is. As long as we are merely thankful, we give thanks for what we perceive to be beneficial, but there always remains the lurking fear that something harmful may come our way instead. To be grateful is more. It is our courageous trust that life itself – kind or harsh, happy or sad -- is good, if only we receive it as gift.

The moment we trust in this truth, we are at peace. A person at peace will serve as an agent of peace in the world.

Activism for peace is necessary. Yet no matter how sincere and how admirable, it will have no effect unless our own heart is at peace, because gratefulness has made us fearless.

Since fear is at the root of all that is wrong with our world, we start healing the world by overcoming fear through gratefulness.
I am in a daily state of gratefulness about meditation. The fact that I am a meditator, that I have had the wonderful good fortune to have received meditation instruction, fills me with gratitude. No matter what else is going on in our lives, no matter what challenges beset us, we can be grateful for our meditative practice.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

This says it all, dear people. Really.

Right here:‎
"See it clearly without judgement and let it go. Come back to the present moment. From now on until the moment of your death, you could do this." 
 -- Pema Chödrön 

Yes, in a way it sounds difficult. In another way, it sounds (is) so doable. So let us take heart!