Monday, November 4, 2013

Not What You Think

What you think is never the whole story.

I spent this past weekend as a participation in a silent "Mindfulness" retreat at Prairiewoods with my friend Liz.   Talk about cultivating an environment that encourages living in the present moment!  This is a 40-acre spirituality center, run by Franciscan nuns. 

We began Friday night and ended Sunday afternoon.  Liz and I were commuters so we were able to retreat to my home at day's end, wine and the hot tub, freaked out at how much discipline it takes to keep your mind and body in the same place at the same time.

The food was fabulous.  The woods such a refuge - I enjoyed the strict off-grid dictate and not talking to anyone (even non-verbal communication was discouraged); I cherished my solo walks - not a soul in sight - spotting deer and working on gratefulness and all the other lessons.

Mindfulness is available to all of us.

Meditation is not doing, it's a way of being, a way of seeing and knowing and loving.  It's a way to "radical acceptance" - a way to get to the present moment, to help gain insight and learning.

It's not about trying to get anywhere special.  It's sitting in stillness - mostly trying to get out of our own way.


 Meditation according to Jon Kabat-Zinn: 
It is not the content of your experience that is important. What is important is our ability to be aware of that content, and even more, of the factors that drive its unfolding and the ways in which those factors either liberate us or imprison us moment by moment and year in, year out.

Excerpted from the book Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness by Jon Kabat-Zinn.