The title of this blog is a bit of an understatement! These are uncertain times. For many of us, this is the first time we have experienced a national emergency that affects and will affect our lives for days and months to come. Even if we remember 9/11, this is unchartered territory.
Ponte Vedra Mindfulness, our local mindfulness sangha, was scheduled to meet tonight to begin our study of the book, “Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World,” by Mark Williams and Danny Penman. Our regular sangha meetings were delayed in 2020 because I fell and broke my wrist on December 30, 2019, and I spent the next two months recovering and attending Occupational Therapy sessions. It was a mindful two months.
But here we are – waiting and watching our national and world situation. The title of our book is quite appropriate. How do we find peace in a frantic and chaotic world? How can meditation help?
Williams and Penman suggest this: “Meditation is not about accepting the unacceptable. It is about seeing the world with greater clarity so that you can take wiser and more considered action to change those things that need to be changed. Meditation helps cultivate a deep and compassionate awareness that allows you to assess your goals and find the optimum path toward realizing your deepest values.” (P. 7)
Our goal this week is to look at our world – the one that has been disrupted by the coronovirus – with greater clarity. As we move into our meditation practice, I will encourage you to cultivate a deep compassion for yourself and for our world. This is important work!
If you have the book, I encourage you to read the first three chapters:
Chapter 1 – Chasing Your Tail
Chapter 2 – Why Do We Attack Ourselves?
Chapter 3 – Waking up to the Life You Have
Next week, we will delve into Chapters 4 and 5 which includes week 1 of this 8-week study. In the meantime, here are some guidelines for your home practice:
- Set a time each day to sit for at least 5 minutes. First thing in the morning is the best way to “remember” to meditate. Notice your breath. Notice your body. See if you can pinpoint any tension in your body and breath into the tension. Notice your feelings.
- At the end of your meditation session, bring loving kindness (Metta) to mind. You may wish to use the phrases, “May I be safe. May I be happy. May I be healthy. May I live with ease,” then bring to mind your family and friends and wish them the same.
- When you watch or surf the news, notice how you feel, and then offer Metta to those being affected by the coronavirus both locally and worldwide.
Finally, take good care and make sure to reach out to your noble friends and share what you have learned during this journey. May you live with ease.