To be here now in silence for a few minutes every day. And perhaps in time find yourself touching the here and now a little more often in daily life - just being, instead of reacting, jumping up, flinching away, keeping busy. Being just a little more alive - that's what regular meditation practice means to me. Since first attending a meditation class some seven years ago, I've known that I'd found something more powerful than psychotherapy, more powerful than force of will, truly known from time to time small intimations of change, small openings to greater peace, more connection, more kindness. Uncomfortable with fervent positivity, I look around at this point for something cynical to say. Really, I have nothing. It's not easy to hold the daily practice, though, amidst busyness and weariness and ever-changing moods. I've lost it many times and come back to it, most recently when Dale had the brilliant idea of a meditation blog, 100 days, a daily check-in point for anyone wanting to practice sitting meditation. Five minutes daily or 50. All backgrounds and traditions welcome - anyone who'd like to start or strengthen a daily meditation practice. A new 100-day commitment begins today, but you can join in at any time.
¶ 1:18 pm
A good reminder, Jean, on the value of daily meditation or quiet time. And, as you point out, the proof of its value is in the small changes - nothing dramatic, just imperceptible shifts and as you say "more connection, more kindness".
Today as I returned to my cushion, I was struck (as I always am!) by how returning to stillness feels like coming home. And yet 99% of the time, I insist on *rushing* rather than *stopping*. Why is that?
Mary's right. "More connection, more kindness" pretty much sums it up.
I also haven't found anything that actually changes my way of being in the world -- in particular, that softens my various compulsive behaviors -- with anything like the effectiveness of meditation. I never know whether to say the changes are tiny or huge, but I do know that meditation, among all my activities, is the only one I've never regretted a minute of.
Dale, it's interesting that you say you've never regretted a minute of meditation. That reminds me of an experience I had the final day of a 3-week summer retreat I sat years ago.
After spending a *lot* of that retreat wishing I were "anywhere but here," during the final sitting on the last day, I started crying to see the retreat coming to an end. How odd, I thought, that I've spent three weeks looking forward to the end of this sitting period, the end of the day so I can sleep, the end of the retreat so I can get out of here...and then when the end *did* come, I wept.
What I realized in retrospect was that I was mourning the end of three weeks lived deliberatively. Although my mind wandered as much as ever during that time, I persevered in an attempt to bring it back. I might not have meditated "successfully," but I tried my hardest, and that's a "success" in my book.
I realized that I could look back on those three weeks and say, "I have absolutely no regrets: I tried my best, and that's good enough." And I also realized that feeling of "no regrets" is a pretty rare thing in my life, and in the world (I think) in general.