From the time I attended my first meditation retreat, I have been drawn to the practice of sitting and looking within. When I sit on my cushion, everything becomes clearer. Initially, I tried my hand at zen meditation, mindfulness in the Thich Nhat Hanh lineage, meditation with Sally Kempton and other techniques before I found the insight tradition in 2007. Each of these practices have their own wisdom and flavor. With insight meditation, it just felt like home; perhaps because it is less structured and more flexible than other practices. But it wasn’t until my first metta retreat in 2008 that I really felt like I came home. Perhaps it is Michele Mcdonald’s way of teaching, or the timing, but my soul deeply recognized the need for the loving-kindness, for unconditional love as a practice to cultivate mindfulness and wisdom.
Becoming a mom in 2010 changed my life profoundly in many ways and you can read about my first year for free on Kindle! In particular, I had less time for longer retreats, and more opportunities to practice mindfulness in daily life! With kids, especially when they are younger, you run into the same challenges over and over and there is plenty of opportunity for the practice of starting anew!
Anjali will be nearly ten this Fall. Time has flown by. And somehow organically, it feels like the right time to deepen my own practice. I’m excited to share the news that I have been accepted into a two-year mindfulness teacher training program, that will begin in Feb 2021. I learned about the program from Doreen Schweizer, my teacher with Valley Insight. It is taught by Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach and the way it is structured appealed to me immediately! The application and acceptance happened quickly! And while the program won’t begin until winter 2021, I’m currently doing one of the prerequisite courses this summer, a seven week course called the Power of Awareness.
How do I describe what it is like to dive into this course? It is like smelling a rose all over again, as if for the first time. Or sinking into the soft sands of the beach after being away. Sure you have been in ponds and lakes, but we are now talking about being back at the ocean! You know that feeling?
The lessons involve talks, instructions for home practice, journaling and guided meditations as well as community mentoring zoom sessions. It is forcing me to be more disciplined about sitting for at least 20 minutes everyday, which sometimes feels like a challenge. And yet, what I am discovering is a joy, a happiness, even a delight, in doing something I have always loved!
I think of this practice as remembering presence, or maintaining a continuity in the train of mindfulness, during the course of the day. There are more moments in each day that I am aware of my body and emotions. Of course, there are plenty of moments when familiar patterns of reactivity still arise, and sometimes I am able to see them more clearly. I’m noticing resistance at times to new ways of meditating, while at other times, the mindfulness practice feels very complementary to metta. As Rumi reminds us, ‘There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.’
Sometimes I wonder how I could possibly train to be a meditation teacher! I love meditating but I don’t always like talking afterward! Will I have the wisdom necessary? Or the patience? On the other hand, there are definitely moments when I am day dreaming of what talks I will give as a teacher! LOL! And I haven’t even started the training program yet! When that or this happens, I notice, smile, and let it go. Come back to this moment, right here, right now. And begin again.
With love, S.
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This is exciting Shuba! Congrats and best wishes. I follow Tara Brach’s meditation now and then and her ways resonated with me too.
I’m so glad to hear that you too follow Tara’s wisdom and practice! I have appreciated your consistency and commitment to writing over all these years! With love, Shuba!