Wow! Great to see so many new faces Tuesday evening. In a lot of ways meditation is about exploring our individual experience. However, supporting one another in silent presence and sharing our journey with the likeminded is essential to deepening and sustaining this practice.
Last night, several group members shared that in their meditation they found a useful tool for dealing with unpleasant physical sensations, such as tension or discomfort, was to shift their attention directly to the area of difficulty. Like a hungry baby crying, our body lets us know when it feels distress. It is important to tend to ourselves as we might a child or friend in need.
However, we often neglect our suffering in an effort to avoid feeling bad. Today, thinking it might be a good idea to bring some coffee with me to the laundry mat, I spilled the beverage on my white sheets as I squeezed through the door. My mind was instantly filled with countless thoughts of blame and anger.
Later, I was able to take a breath and shift my attention from the busy thoughts to the actual feeling of my imagined failure: aching and tenderness in the chest; I felt for a moment like a child being reprimanded for some minor offense; and then the feeling passed.
In our guided meditations the instruction is to bring ourselves from the thoughts and stories of the mind and into the here and now. We rest our attention on sounds, the feeling of the breath, the weight of the body or physical sensations. This allows us to bypass the minds effort to avoid or ‘fix’ difficult feelings, and engage our experience more fully. Through this practice we are able to let go of suffering.
So often, our pain wants only to be recognized. Think of a child who calls out repeatedly to his distracted mother until finally she responds, “what?” The child smiles and says, “nothing.”
Hope to see you all next week. Go to the latest Weekly Words on our website to comment on this post or share similar experiences http://www.bushwickmeditation.com/
Also, check out the guided meditation with Tara Brach from Tuesday and the talk on Focus and Mindfulness from Jonathan Foust on the Bushwick Meditation Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/BushwickMeditation. Please join and like us!