I awoke to another lovely surprise today. My friend Jan at Awake is Good has begun a 28 day meditation challenge...an online supportive sacred community for those who wish to meditate together...beginners...all of us are beginners again and again and again, no matter how long we have meditated (or haven't meditated) in the past. Discovering Jan's loving offer would have been dayenu (enough) but then she quoted something I wrote to her about her vow to practice some form of meditation everyday this year, right above a quote from ALAN WATTS! If you are going to be a warm up band that's a pretty awesome gig! (I had no idea what I wrote in a comment had made such an impact on her, wow! I feel deeply honored, thank you Jan.) One of the first books I ever tried to read on the subject of consciousness and reality was way back in college. My dear friend Art Baner handed me a book by Alan Watts. I don't remember the title. I don't even remember what was written in that book (this is what I mean by tried to read)...it was beyond my level of philosophical, theological and psycho-spiritual comprehension at that time (now too, probably!)...but I knew it was powerful and something about it resonated for me. It was a subtle (subtle only because I didn't "get it") nudge to wake up, pay attention, step inside myself in order to move beyond myself...I wasn't ready then...I had a lot of suffering and unconsciousness to experience first before I could begin to see the gifts held in suffering and unconsciousness (yes, I think there are blessings in these seemingly unhelpful states of being too!) This brings me back to Jan's blog post and supportive sacred community. Delving into the present moment, not trying to change it, hold it, control it in any way...just noticing what IS...that for me has been the key to unlocking the door to the room of hidden treasures that my life has been all along. You might discover this for yourself too if you choose to accept Jan's challenge (a vow to meditate in some form everyday for the next 28 days). Transformation happens. It is not always grand transformation. It is not always enjoyable transformation. It is not always clear transformation (at least not at first). But if you pay attention you might notice that you are noticing more...while sitting, breathing, walking, listening, painting, dancing, photographing, writing, singing, chanting, eating, laughing, working, living. You might. Maybe 28 days will become 56 or 112, 224, 488 or the rest of your life. You will gradually notice that time has passed...that your body feels different, that your viewpoint has shifted...that what you thought was true was true, but now it isn't. Jan will be our gentle guide on this adventure for the next 28 days (starting Sunday, January 3rd)...offering her observations about her own practice, meditation suggestions, a free conference call, guest interviews...and we, any of us, from anywhere in the world can jump on this meditation magic school bus and learn together as we traverse this short journey to who knows where? Hop over to Awake is Good find out more about the 28 Day Meditation Challenge.
Remember this is about awareness...not the form of your meditation practice. This is meditation in a broadest definition possible-you get to make up that definition for yourself. So it might look like a cup of tea sipped silently but with dedicated attention to the color of the tea, the fragrance arising from the steam, the warmth of the cup in your hands, the taste of the tea on your togue, the sound of swallowing the first sip, the weight of the cup as you take it from your lips back to the table. Your meditation practice doesn't have to be sitting completely still for 45 minutes...it could be...but it doesn't have to be. The only thing to lose (I think) by giving this a try is a belief that we can't meditate...or meditate "right". And that's just silly. Of course we can. By the way, 5 minutes of paying attention to your breath a day totally counts (at least in my book!)...more is great if you can commit to more. Be compassionate and accept that 5 minutes might just be enough for you in your life right now. (I don't know if Jan would agree with this, 5 minutes deal, but my Kaizen Muse training tells me it's OK.)
I look forward to reading about your meditation journeys on your blogs, Jan's blog, or via e-mails...this is so cool!
blessings to all,