A Kinder Presence
Early this morning I spent some time thinking about my meditation practice and how it has evolved over the years. It’s interesting to consider because I honestly cannot say that my mind wanders any less than it used to. My mind is as wild as ever, moving from thought to thought, past to present, present to future. Some days feel more tame, while other days feel chaotic as ever. What has changed, however, is how I relate to all of the interests of the mind. Rather than wanting to impulsively control, struggle with or judge them, I am more able to relax into the nature of my mind as it is. This simple capacity has been transformational to me. It allows me to feel more kind than harsh, more accepting than aggressive, more fluid than stuck. My practice is less about how blissed out I can feel and more about offering myself a kinder presence.
This itself has been the seed for feeling more at ease in the unpredictable, sometimes disagreeable world around me. I catch myself before I spin off into stories and commentaries sooner than I used to. This quality of presence gives me the opportunity to stay with my experience even when I am in a darker place. A harsh moment or a difficult circumstance becomes one that is more tender and spacious.
I am as imperfect as before, but I feel as though the rough edges have become a little softer, more flexible and resilient. All of this has translated into how I treat myself and others, how I parent and how I manage day to day stresses. And I am ever more committed and dedicated to this “self” changing practice. Life is the same, but I have changed in the way I perceive and approach it.
“Life, as you well know, is a continuous succession: It’s great, it’s lousy, it’s agreeable, it’s disagreeable, it’s joyous and blissful and other times it’s sad. And being with that, being with this continual succession of agreeable and disagreeable with an open spirit, open heart and open mind, that’s why I sit to meditate.” ~ Pema Chodron
**I am teaching another six week mindfulness meditation series beginning in September. If you are curious about these methods and wisdoms, click on the link below for more information. You don’t have to believe or trust my experience. Perhaps your own exploration will lead you down a similar path.