Good day, everyone. I had a moment yesterday that I would like to share. Let me begin with a bit of context for clarity… These days, my practice consists of five components.
Morning meditation: I sit each morning at 7 a.m., except on Sundays when I sit at 9 a.m. I found a (semi)local Zen center that is meeting online at this time, due to the coronavirus, and I join them each morning. This is the first time that I have participated in a real-world sangha despite the fact that we are meeting virtually at this time.
Walking meditation: I practice walking mindfully each day. I often stop, interspersing my walking with visit with the birds, ducks, frogs and cats. On my latest walk, due to the previous evening’s rain, I also visited with the worms.
Gratitude list: I have an ongoing gratitude list in a Word document on my computer. I keep it open constantly, and whenever I feel gratitude throughout the day, I return to the list to add to it.
Cookie jar: I have a small plate filled with colorful pieces of paper and a pen that I keep in front of a cookie jar. As I quit sugar about eight months ago now, I decided to repurpose my cookie jar on January first. During the day, each time I catch myself doing something kind, thoughtful or compassionate – including (re: especially) when it is a kindness of thoughtful act of compassion toward myself, I stop to consider it. Aware of my action, I embrace the feelings that it generates until it transforms into gratitude. That gratitude, in turn, manifests itself into a thought. I take the thought, write it on one of the colorful pieces of paper, and drop it in the cookie jar. The plan is, that on New Year’s Eve, I’m dumping them all out on the living room floor and reading back all the messages of encourage, love and compassion that I’ve written to myself.
Mindful meal: I have eaten most of the meals that I’ve had in my life mindlessly and while willfully distracted. So many meals have been grabbed at a drive-thru and eaten in the car while driving to a destination twenty minutes away that I need to be at in nineteen minutes. Many others have happened while having a conversation - taking bites while they’re talking, and getting the fork at the ready to shove in my mouth after I stop interrupting them. Or while watching television or reading or surfing the net or... So, I tried to eat mindfully. The draw to distract myself while I eat was too great and I failed again and again. Then I realized that I had enough compassion for myself that I could eat one meal a day mindfully – and so that’s what I do today. I eat one meal per day as a mindful, meditative practice. It’s a long process to eat this way, but the deeper I go, the more joy I experience. The more joy I experience, the m ore likely that my compassion for myself will increase sufficiently for me to be able to eat two meals per day like this – or even all of them.
Anyway, as I said above, I wrote that to provide a bit of context to my story about yesterday’s walk that resulted in laughter. As I rounded the last corner on my return home, aware that this collection of flotsam and jetsam from the universe had arranged itself in this incredibly fortunate way to allow walking, joy and gratitude were leaking out of me. And then the thought, “I want more!” followed immediately with “How can I get more?” The next instant, dozens of thoughts rushed my joy, muting it. Awareness arose that I was no longer present for my walk. I physically stopped and stood, enjoying the irony of becoming less mindful to think about how I can become more mindful…until I chose the joy of walking again over the joy of appreciating the irony.
And now, I’m heading over to my gratitude list because right now I’m feeling grateful to this community that has encouraged and supported me (once, literally 😊) for so many years. Thank you!