Often when I read the lesson for Sunday School it’s a rote blurred reading of material I tell myself I’ve heard a thousand times over. The words zoom past, but my mind is only partially engaged, as my to-do list and a myriad of other distractions compete for attention. Such was the case when I read the lesson last week: “Moses, creation story, I need to get that window fixed, what’s for dinner….” and away my mind goes! The skill of mindfulness helps me, first, recognize, that I’m off in la-la land, and second, come back to the narrative at hand. I imagine that for the monks who are “good at this mindfulness stuff,” this recognition of drifting into “monkey mind” looks like a gentle epiphany of awareness, with a wise nod, a little smile and a knowing sigh. For me it looks more like this: “…window fixed, dinner…. Hey! What are you doing!? CARRIE ~ PAY ATTENTION!!” Continue reading
Newbies to meditation and yoga quickly discover a quirky reality to these disciplines, a seemingly unending, and oddly reverential, focus on “the breath.” Breathing. In and out. In and out. This doesn’t seem to be a particularly profound concept. It’s probably only second on the list of things we immediately learn upon entering mortality, the first lesson: being born is not-as-much-fun-as-the-ad-said-it-would-be, and the second: BREATHE! In and out. Over and over again. I guess it makes sense that the start of a meditation practice takes us back to those very first lessons, life involves suffering, and keep breathing. As we get a little older, perhaps in the middle of a torrential two year old tantrum, we experiment more with holding our breath – in, in, in… but eventually we must exhale and make room for the next breath. As an adult there are moments, of happiness and sweetness, that I want to only breathe in, in, in, and hold on to it forever.