Thursday, May 27, 2010

When do I practice mindfulness meditation? How about now?

Over the course of my life I see how I have come up with little schedules that occupy my mind, my time, my life. What does that mean? It means simply that we as human beings in the western world find little time to truly pause. Even if we have free time...completely unattached from any schedule, we will find something in our head to fill the space...A friend of mine said years ago that he never had guilt free time. When he had a quiet moment he always felt like he NEEDED to be doing something else. Do you ever feel that way? I know I have many times.

In my practice I see how mindfulness meditation helps me focus. It is by truly practicing the art of "doing nothing" that I get to the root of my spirit, the root of all my suffering and the knowledge that I am peacefully on the right path for me. I am part of the Rochester Zen Center and after leaving my morning meditation and chanting at the Center, I rushed off to breakfast with a friend and got involved in about a thousand things, including my 19 year old son's moving into his first apartment. Why do I bring that up? Because it is our nature to always find a reason to be busy. We have been taught since birth that we MUST be occupied or, at least, doing something positive or constructive. "Idle hands make idle minds." Here's a secret....THAT IS NOT TRUE! Let your hands be as idle as they want! True happiness comes from actually knowing that I am on the right path. Maintaining a healthy mediation practice is the right path for me but that doesn't mean that I have to constantly be chanting, meditating, reading, walking, praying or anything else that ends in "ing."

Sometimes all that is needed for me to live a healthy, productive, mindful life is to do.....nothing. That's right, nothing. I don't even have to think "Okay, I'm doing nothing now" because that is actually doing something. It becomes second nature but it takes practice. We have to re-wire as my friend MaryAnn puts it. And, because we have to re-wire what took years to create negative habits, we might be tempted to give up or feel that we are not moving along the path quick enough. Nonsense! We are moving exactly at the right speed!

You see, there will always be a son's first moving day or a death in the family or a friend who has problems with alcohol or a celebrity who gets arrested or a daughter that gets married or a piece of music you want to listen to...If I can "re-wire" and go along the mindful path, trying as much as possible to remain present, then I won't create schedules for myself of things that I HAVE to do. This doesn't meant that I must shirk my responsibility. Not at all. What it means is that I can lead a life void of subconsciously creating a busy agenda because that is what I have been trained to do.

A friend once told me "I you pray why worry? If you worry why pray?" That holds true here...Not so much prayer as it is faith. Faith in knowing that being present and acting out of loving kindness is essentially what I need to do to survive.

"If I meditate and act out of love in all that I do why worry?"

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