Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Meditation 104

I couldn't get into it today.  I arrived early and nestled into a comfy padded chair until the door opened.  I crocheted and chatted and then joined the group in the circle.  Yogi Marsha instructed the newbies on comfort techniques as I crossed my legs (my feet don't reach the ground when I sit up straight in the chair) in half lotus.

Just getting into that position on the chair was an accomplishment; six months ago it was a fantasy, an intention, a desire.  I took a moment to compliment myself, and to let that sink in around the edges.  Being kind to oneself is the first step in our mindfulness practice. It's hard for me.

There were twenty of us saying OM together and breathing together in the same space.  Yogi Marsha brought the conversation around to LeBron James, which got more of my attention than her soothing words usually attract.  I try to turn off my thinking brain as soon as I enter the room because I've found that it takes me a while to stop fidgeting.  But I knew just where she was going with her thought - the peace that LeBron demonstrated in his pre-game interview and in his demeanor on the bench during the game. 

I saw the same piece on tv, and I reminded her that she had left out what, to me, was the most significant statement he made.  Did he do anything different to prepare?  Was he anxious? Did the championship possibilities leave him all aquiver?  His answer sums up everything I love about him:
It's just basketball.
That's my definition of mindfulness in a nutshell.  He plays, he sweats, he hurts, he gets paid... and it's all just part of one section of who he is.  I'm trying to get to that place, myself.

The silent meditation began, and I just wasn't there.  I was going with the random thoughts rather than observing them as they flew by.  I tried and failed not to judge as I my brain tried to take my self away from peacefulness. 

Then, the doors opened and a latecomer arrived. 

As quiet as she tried to be, I found it impossible to ignore her progress across the auditorium and into a chair.  I went with it, then inhaled Peace and exhaled Calm.... all to no avail.  I was very glad when the bells rang and we were directed to come back from wherever we had been.

We shared our experiences and gave the newcomers suggestions and then we began the Metta Sutta.  Yogi Marsha recites it aloud, each section repeated three times.  We send peace and well-being and joy out into the world, starting with ourselves, then moving on to our teachers, then the patients and then the staff at the hospital in which we meet, and then to one with whom we have discord.....

and my heart, which had been heating up, and my eyes, which were full of tears of love and wonder, were wrenched from that place of beauty and oneness by thoughts of the shooter.

My open heart closed right up.  The warmth in my center was gone, replaced by a throbbing above, nearly at my left shoulder.  I did not want him in my space.  I did not want to wish him joy or peace.  No.  I did not.  Not at all.

I wrestled with that alone, as the session wound down.  As the chairs were put away, I shared my angst with Yogi Marsha.  Looking at her is like looking into a mirror; today was no exception.  Her startled response surprised me; her explanation gave me ease.

She, too, is connected to a murder.  Last week, she, too, was jolted out of her comfort zone by the image of that shooter.  She was no more pleased than I was.  Being wiser and more practiced and closer to mindfulness and the concomitant lack of judgment that is required, she offered this: 
The thoughts are there to be recognized and then discarded.  It is freeing oneself of that packet of unwanted thoughts of an unwanted being.  It is lightening my own load.
And then, as a believer in reincarnation, she added this:
I hope that those who have done such evil will take that which we are sending and will come back as more loving beings.
Changing the world one soul at a time.  I can get behind that.


  1. This is just the kind of group I'd like to find in Phoenix. I know it would be good for me, and I haven't been able to bring myself to sign up for a class at a yoga center, where it seems everyone is experienced. It sounds like you found a group that's laid back and not intimidating. How did you come across it? Any insights would be very much appreciated!

    1. Everyone was experienced in my group, too, Anon. I just swallowed my discomfort and joined in. I'll ask Yogi Marsha for advice for you... and I'll post it here for you.


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