April 12, 2011
I’m so glad some of you asked for a meditation for patience. I really needed this! Whenever I’m creating a new meditation, I explore my own experience. Exploring my experience of impatience brought insights, and helped me notice when I was trying to rush things rather than relaxing into the natural rhythm of how things are unfolding in my life. This new podcast meditation was created to allow you (and me) to relax into life’s natural timing.
When we are impatient, we are in a hurry for things to be different. Whether we’re eager to finish a project, or make a change in ourselves or our circumstances, we are focussed on the future. We’re at point A, but our attention is on getting to point B. In essence, we feel that things will be better at point B, and we’re trying to get away from point A.
The fast pace of life and living in a culture that values quantity and speed feeds impatience. For many of us, it takes a strong intention and usually some sort of practice to counteract that. Meditation is certainly a great antidote to our speedy culture, and you can add to that an intention to come back to the present throughout the day. It’s a great help to be in tune with your body, because it will tell you when you are rushing.
Next time you feel impatient, check in with your body. What do you feel? Chances are you’ll feel some agitation and restlessness. Let yourself be present to that. You might then find that some other feeling emerges — sadness, anger, frustration, fear… Allow yourself to be present to that. Allow the emotions to be felt and see what happens. See what else you experience by being present to yourself and the moment. Hopefully you’ll notice the aliveness that is there, and find fulfillment in simply being present to what is.
Take a little more time, and look around you and see what is there — the richness of experience is nothing short of a miracle. You hear sounds, touch textures, see colors and shapes, and have a huge variety of smells and tastes to feed the senses. If you find a relief in relaxing into the now, make note of that for the future. Take a moment to let that sink in, to recognize that the real fulfillment in life doesn’t have anything to do with finishing a project or changing yourself and your circumstances. It has to do with the simple experience of being alive, and the richness of that experience.
August 31, 2010
Walking a labyrinth can be a profound experience. In our town, we have a simple labyrinth, marked on the earth with stones in a circle of redwoods. I love to walk it, using it as a moving meditation.
There are many ways to walk a labyrinth. You can find very specific instructions for what to do as you walk one – even eHow has a page on how to walk one.
I like to approach labyrinth walking more casually, without a set procedure. Sometimes I set an intention, but more often I simply start to walk and see what experiences it brings. It always takes me out of linearity. We are so accustomed to seeing life – our hours, days, years – as a line that progresses from one place to another. The latter place is usually a goal. We try to find the straightest way to the goal. We measure the distance in our minds. If it’s a car trip, we watch our progress on a map. But getting to the center of a labyrinth is like the “long and winding road”. You come closer to the center and your mind may start to try to measure how close you are to the “end”. Just then, you find yourself taking a turn that leads you back out toward the edge.
For me, the labyrinth mirrors life, which isn’t really linear. Walking it is a great way to relax into the twists and turns of life, to let go of the constant focus on future goals and the tendency to try to see how everything leads to something else. It’s a way of being in the Now. Martha Cuffy, who is seen in the photo walking a labyrinth with friends, expressed similar sentiments in a lovely post with a perfect title – Walk your Life in a Labyrinth.
I was inspired to write this post by Eleanor, a seminary student in Hong Kong, who left a beautiful comment on the website about her experience walking the labyrinth. It’s moving and inspiring to read how she uses her walk in the labyrinth to process emotions and gain insights into herself and her life. She has quite an inner journey, and comes out of it with beautiful observations on the nature of silence. This is a beautiful example of the power of walking the labyrinth. Not every walk will be this profound – one needs to let go of expectations and see what special gifts the labyrinth holds each time it is walked.
Have you walked a labyrinth? What was the experience like for you?
August 19, 2010
“Present moment awareness” isn’t something that can be captured in words. It is a holistic awareness of “what is”. This short meditation is an opportunity to explore what is “here and now”.
This is a more advanced meditation in that the instructions are very subtle. The words I say in meditations are never meant as instructions to be followed precisely, and that is even more true for this meditation. Since there’s so much interest in the idea of the “present moment”, it might be easy to get caught up in concepts about it and what it is. Any idea we have about the present moment, however, is not what it is. As you listen to this meditation, listen easily. Treat it more like poetry than prose, allowing it to reveal something to you that can’t be named. Let go of the need to understand!
We’d love to hear your experiences with this meditation!