Wednesday, February 20, 2008

“Wonder”-ful Wednesday

I don’t know if I’ve told you before, but I’ve dabbled in meditation for years.

I have tons of books on the subject. (You know how I am about reading, especially reading about doing something before actually doing it. That’s my favorite!)

I have a number of CD’s. Tons of incense which I love to light while meditating. (FYI: If you have a smoke detector in your bedroom, it cannot tell the difference between actual fire-type smoke and incense-type smoke. To the detector, it’s all the same. So, beware!)

I’ve been to a Buddhist temple where I was able to meditate in the “Room of a Thousand Buddha’s.” I’ve been to a Hindu temple where I was able to participate in group meditation. And I’ve been to an ex-Jesuit school for a retreat where I was able to take a class on meditation.

Overall, I love it! And recently, with everything going on in my life (what with me trying to “live the dream” and “be creative” and “pay bills”) I’ve rededicated myself to the practice.

For the last month, I’ve been doing the Metta Bhavana* for a half-hour during my lunch break. And it’s been wonderful! I’ve been able to still my mind (at least for a little while), feel more at peace with things in my life, and extend more “brotherly kindness” towards all (even my officemate, which is saying something).

And this leads me to this week's quote:

There is no need to go to India or anywhere else to find peace. You will find that deep place of silence right in your room, your garden or even your bathtub.

-- Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

In this world, there is not a lot of peace going around. And, I’m not talking about the fact that there is war, because a physical war is just a symptom of the spiritual war that is going on inside. After all, if people felt peace within, there would be no need for violence.

In a very real sense, peace equals contentment. You can’t have one without the other. And that’s one of the goals of meditation: to let go of desires (which brings dissatisfaction) and just appreciate the moment, because in the moment, you have enough.

For me, this connects heavily to religion and God. And fits quite nicely with how I view things. Meditation has helped me hear the still small voice, and has opened my mind to revelation. It’s been quite amazing actually. Meditation has become a kind of prayer for me (although I still pray the regular way as well). And as we all know, we can pray anywhere!

And that’s what I love about the quote by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. She’s right. You don’t need to travel anywhere for peace. You can find it in all the places she spoke of (or in a car during your lunch break, like me). You only need to stop, still yourself, and listen.

Now don’t think that meditation is easy. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. To keep your mind focused on one thing (or nothing, as the case may be) is difficult. I have to constantly tell myself not to get distracted by the passing cars, or the itch on my nose, or what I have to do later that day, or how my 401k is doing, or if Gilligan and the Skipper were in an unhealthy co-dependent relationship.

The mind will try to bring up all these things. That’s its job: to think. And what you have to do is try to ride out the thoughts. Let them come and go. And eventually you feel peaceful.

So, here’s my question to you: How do you find peace? I’m talking about literal peace in your soul. Peace that you feel. Peace that renews you. And I guess my follow up question would be: How can you make peace a daily thing? Right now! In your office/home/car.

Peace takes work. I know that sounds funny, but it’s true. Even peace in the gospel requires a turning to the Savoir, following His commandments, etc. Peace isn’t something that comes once, and then you have it forever. It’s something you have to cultivate. It’s something you have to look for every day.

And if you do, you not only help yourself, but those around you. So, take a minute, breathe, and feel the peace I’m sending your way. And then, send some back to me!

*If you want to know more about this kind of meditation you can go here for a brief synopsis, or here for a more thorough understanding.


Gina said...

I feel more peaceful just having read your post. Thanks...I think I'll take a nap. :)

Ms. Liz said...

You know - I took this Yoga/Meditation class a few quarters back and the teacher was doing her PhD in meditative physiology or something fancy so she was a guru and it was a good few months for me - meditating 3 times a week for like 30 min at a time. Everything was just less cluttered, on the inside and outside. It was marvelous. I'm glad you're grafting it into your days. Peace is hard and its fleeting. Like you find it and you breathe for a few and then its shooed away by a phone call or traffic on the way home or whatnot. You're marvelous.

Heather said...

How do I find peace? I have a few ways: Driving in my car usually calms me, as long as I am alone and free to explore new paths; I also have my hidden coffee shop, where I can have "me" time, or read, orfind a nearby bench; My fav. and the most effective--Beach day! I love to go and sit and hear the waves and the breeze and free my mind to wonder with it blowing from one topic to the next, from shallow shore to deep sea. It's like a mini-vacation every time.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this was wonderful. Thanks for the links to those websites! Reading my scriptures is the ticket for me. I will ALWAYS feel peaceful and focused afterwards. Listening to church music helps with that too.