Saturday 1449 – 20th October 2012.
Last week I wrote about the 11th anniversary of the beginning of the futile war in Afghanistan and the Naming of the Dead demonstration I attended in London. I was very surprised to find that there were so few comments on the post even though I know from my stats that plenty of people visited it.
I am still wondering why that was.. maybe someone will tell me ??
Anyway back to this Saturday and what a blissful Saturday it has been. As some of you may know ( I’m sure I mentioned it sometime) I have started to meditate, well that’s not strictly true as I have read much about meditation and Eastern philosophies over the years and have started to meditate several times in my lifetime but not with a great deal of success . I never attended classes though and I think that’s why I didn’t succeed.
Enough. These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.
This opening to the life
we have refused
again and again
I met an extraordinary man this summer and it was his example that put me back on the road. Why? Well because his life has been pretty chaotic this summer and he had plenty of cause to be utterly miserable but he has not been and professes to be happy.
I believe him as I have witnessed his calmness, sense of fun and acceptance of his situation; not in a passive defeatist way but in a positive, move forward sort of way. He seems to live much more in the now.
Most days this man meditates twice a day on peace and love and it shows.. I thought “I
want need some of that” so I signed up for an Introduction to Meditation course at the Cambridge Buddhist Centre; 6 Monday evenings and a Saturday 10-4 practice day which was today. It was brilliant.
The centre itself is very inviting as you can see by the photos above and if you’d like to you can find out more by clicking on the name. There is an air of peace and friendliness when you enter..
He is an excellent teacher as well as a wise and gentle man with a mischievous sense of humour.. so a photo of him smiling is appropriate because he does that a lot.
I am not becoming a Buddhist but I am becoming calmer, gentler and more forgiving of myself and others.
Over the weeks we have been learning Mindfulness of Breathing and Loving Kindness meditations; 2 basic meditation techniques.
By focusing on my natural breath as an object of concentration in the Mindfulness of Breathing meditation, I have become aware of my mind’s tendency to flit from one thing to another; planning, questioning, wandering, projecting etc.. The gentle discipline of being mindful of my breath helps me relax, be more in the moment and less restless. I think this mindfulness has made me more alert to everything around me.
I won’t go into more detail here because if you want to find out more you can google the terms.
It’s a bit like learning any new skill by repetition for example like learning a new language.. the more you practice the more natural it becomes to speak in that language.
Think of it like this – if you practice dislike and hatred, these will sadly become natural to you. If you practice loving kindness, this will happily become natural to you and this is my intention – to practice loving kindness as part of my everyday life. Isn’t that better than disliking and hating ?
Ten thousand flowers in spring, the
moon in autumn,
a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter.
If your mind
isn’t clouded by unnecessary things,
this is the best season of your life.
Wu Men (Hui-k’ai) (1183 – 1260)
(English version by Stephen Mitchell )
The poems I have included here, along with others, were read by Ruchiraketu during the day; a day when I shared a veggie lunch with lovely people, had brilliant, insightful conversation as well as silence and peacefulness. I so enjoyed the communal feeling of practicing the different meditations with others which included lying down to meditate ( didn’t work for me as I got too comfortable and had to concentrate on keeping awake! ) and the walking meditation which I enjoyed very much.
If you have ever wondered whether meditation might work for you give it a try. It has certainly helped to transform my life in a very positive way and it is my intention to make space in my life to meditate most days but more than that – to carry the effects of the practice with me in my daily life.
As ever I’d love to hear your thoughts so feel free to comment below.
That’s all until next Saturday. Have a kind and loving week 🙂
You can find my photography blog Photomania here I hope you’ll pop over and take a look if you haven’t already.