Opportunity

Making Friends With My Thoughts

To Sit with Discomfort

by cheryl on February 5, 2016

in Meditation

When I first tried meditating several years ago, I remember struggling between trying to still my body and my mind.  At first, I found it incredibly difficult and physically uncomfortable to sit still, which was then followed by my many thoughts,  “My knee really hurts . . . My back aches . . . I am feeling restless . . . I am uncomfortable,” which only made my physical discomfort more deeply felt. Other days, I would have no problem physically sitting still,  but my mind was the source of my discomfort, refusing to be still.

Over the years,  I have learned that it is best to “make friends” with my discomfort.  I try not to struggle against whatever is distracting me, or figure it out or beat myself up for having these distractions.   I use them, instead, as an important part of my meditation.  I try to approach my discomfort or distraction with a sense of curiosity and interest, no longer trying to do anything with it.   I simply observe what I am experiencing with a friendly, loving and gentle attention.   I look at my experience, whatever that may be, as an opportunity for self-awareness, rather than an obstacle to it.

It would be nice to report that each time I sit down to meditate I find myself enjoying twenty minutes of sheer bliss.   What I have found, instead, is that each meditation is different.  Somedays I have an ache or a pain, some days my mind is extremely busy, and other days my mind and my body are peaceful and still.   In essence, this is what the practice is all about.  Learning to sit and simply get to know myself, to have some sense of control over where I place my  attention, and when I feel out of control, to simply let it be and watch without becoming overwhelmed by it.

Just like my meditation practice, my days are not all the same, and certainly not always peaceful – – – people can annoy me, my children don’t always listen to me, my house is not always clean, my back sometimes aches, people close to me get sick, and the evening news continues to report great tragedies around the globe.   I find that I can now look at all of these things with a sense of presence, openness and curiosity, just like I practice on my cushion each morning.  Instead of getting swept away by what is happening, overwhelmed by it, or trying to figure it out, I can connect to my own inner stillness and allow myself to feel whatever comes up fully (anger, sadness, frustration and, yes, great joy) and just be with it.  All this from simply sitting on my cushion for a few minutes a day.

On to Week 2!

 

This blog is part of Sharon Salzberg’s Real Happiness Meditation Challenge.  In the month of February, you can join over 12,000 people around the world who have committed to sit each day and give meditation a try!  You can learn more about the challenge, join in and read what people are saying by clicking  here.

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Mindful Living: An Introduction to Mindfulness and Meditation

In this course, we will explore meditation and mindfulness practices that can be used everyday to help reduce stress, increase a sense of calm, clarity, and connection, and create greater contentment in our lives.  Each class will consist of a discussion of mindfulness tools and the developing research on the neuroscience of mindfulness, as well as group mindfulness practices.

“Mindfulness practice means that we commit fully in each moment to be present; inviting ourselves to interface with this moment in full awareness, with the intention to embody as best we can an orientation of calmness, mindfulness, and equanimity right here and right now.”

― Jon Kabat-Zinn, Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life

Benefits of Mindfulness and Meditation include:

  • Increased attention, focus and concentration
  • Decreased levels of stress
  • Increased sense of calm, balance and equanimity
  • Improved mood
  • Greater ability to regulate emotions
  • Improved sleep patterns and overall sense of  wellbeing

Class Dates & Times:  Four week session begins February 26th.  Classes will  meet from 8 pm to 9:30 pm on Wednesdays, February 26, March 5, 12 and 19. Snow date will be March 26th.

Location:  Groove, 108 Chatsworth Avenue, Larchmont, New York.

To Register click here.

 

 

 

 

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Finding the Light in the Midst of Darkness

Finding the Light in the Midst of Darkness

by cheryl on January 3, 2013

in Meditation

In the wake of the recent tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, we entered this holiday season with a heaviness in our hearts.  We struggle to comprehend the incomprehensible and to fill a deep hole in our hearts that seems impossible to fill when thinking of the 26 innocent souls that we lost on December 14, 2012.  Yet, we can emerge from this horrific moment in our history by focusing on the incredible acts of human kindness that we have seen following that terrible day.

We are now aware of the amazing acts of courage and selflessness of the teachers and staff who risked their own lives to save the lives of innocent children.  We have heard numerous accounts of first responders who acted with bravery and compassion in dealing with the horrific scene they found at the elementary school that day.   We have seen images of  people from around the country and the world, people from different backgrounds, with different religious affiliations and different political views, offering their support, sending gifts and sharing their love in any way they can during this time of national mourning.  Through these countless acts of kindness, we can feel a renewed sense of hope, inspiration and faith in the incredible strength of our basic human goodness.  This is the good in all of us that we must recognize and foster that can help us overcome our sadness, anger and grief.

 

When we see the heartbreaking images of those beautiful young children who were killed that day, we see in their smiling faces such joy, innocence and life.  This reminds us all to notice those amazing qualities in our own children, in ourselves and in the people around us.  We have heard the mourning parents speak about how blessed they feel to have had their beautiful children in their lives, even if only for a short time.   Their words remind us all how important it is to stop and take a pause in our busy days to notice the richness of our own lives and the beauty of all that surounds us, and not wait until it is gone to fully appreciate all that we had.  We are reminded to tell those we love how much we love them, to give our children an extra hug and kiss and to take the time each day to be fully present in our lives.   We are reminded that life is too precious to be lived unaware of its beauty each day.

 

So, in response to the tragedy in Newtown, we can find hope and inspiration to move forward toward a better future for ourselves and for our children.   We can take away so much from this tragedy that will help us to rise up, be strong, come together and foster the love and compassion that we all have an endless capactiy to give, which is the perfect tribute to those beautiful souls we lost in Newtown.

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Back to Reality

Back to Reality

by joanna on August 8, 2012

in Meditation

It’s been a glorious summer for us at 2bpresent.  We took time from the normal school year schedule and lived weeks in a very unstructured unscheduled manner.  As we are now in August, we have been struck by the reality of returning to a school and life schedule that is drastically different from the way we have lived for several weeks now.  In pondering this shift that is going to have to take place the following lyrics from En Vogue seemed apropos to share with all of you.

Back to life, back to reality.  Back to the here and now, yeah.  Show me how, decide what you want from me.  Tell me maybe I could be there for you.
However do you want me? However do you need me?  How, however do you want me?  However do you need me?
Back to life,  back to the present time.  Back from a fantasy, yeah. Tell me now, take the initiative. I’ll leave it in your hands until you’re ready…

Summer is a break from the reality of the hectic schedules that we have during the school year.  People asking of us and us pouring ourselves out to those we love and the causes that we support.  We are wanted and needed and needed and wanted 24/7.  By breaking from that for summer we are able to refuel and come back recharged.  The transitions from one to another are not without anxiety for us or for our children.  For our children they have shifted from school schedules to summer (camp or unstructured chill time) and now what they focused on so much is coming to a close and the hectic school schedules that they have are approaching them once again.   Can we incorporate the best of what they love from the summer into their normal school year schedule?  Can we put a little less on all of our plates this year and have more time to just be together as a family?  Will they miss something if they aren’t as busy?  Will we?

September also coincides with a climatic shift as the sweltering warm days start to turn cooler.  We go from shedding clothes to adding layers to stay warn.  As we look toward this transition, can we add mindfulness and meditation into the layers we wrap ourselves in?  Incorporating a mindful practice into the way we interact with those we love the most and those who we just barely touch.  Mindfulness can make those shifts be they seasonal or from summer back to school smoother and easier for ourselves and our families.

If you are interested in learning more about beginning a practice of mindfulness and meditation, please join us as we once again journey to find Real Happiness following the work of Sharon Salzberg and other experts in this field.  Click here for more information on this upcoming course and on our event hosting Sharon Salzberg in our community.

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We came across this great video that we thought that you might find interesting.  Take a look and let us know what you think.

 

 

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Weekly Wisdom #14

by cheryl on May 22, 2012

in Weekly Wisdom

“Most obstacles melt away when we make up our minds to walk boldly through them.”

-Orison Swett Marden

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Weekly Wisdom #13

by cheryl on April 2, 2012

in Weekly Wisdom

“Be kind to unkind people – they need it the most.”   – Ashleigh Brilliant

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