28 July, 2010

Pursuit #1: Live in the NOW

The Pursuit:
Recently I visited the Shambala Meditation Center in DC to learn how to meditate. I wasn't completely convinced that it would really do anything. It seemed so new agey and perhaps a bit esoteric.  But due to curiosity, and after reading about the alleged benefits of the practice and feeling routinely stressed from school or life, I thought how will I know if it works or not if I don't try it?

Meditating is hard. It involves retraining the way we think. I just learned about something in psychology called spreading activation which describes how our brains jump from one thought to another. You start thinking about the laundry you need to get done, which reminds you of that shirt you used to own when you were 12 that you loved, which makes you start thinking about the girl in your 7th grade class who wore funny glasses....and so on and so on. Our thoughts are racing, they get jumbled and we get overwhelmed, stressed or agitated. Rarely do we ever really just live in the now, not let our minds wander and just...be. Seems so simple. If you try to do it though, I guarantee you will struggle, at least at first.

Meditation is mindfulness and awareness.
It "begins by simplifying everything. We sit on the cushion, follow our breath and watch our thoughts. We simplify our whole situation."     -

Thich Nhat Hanh
In, Out
Deep, Slow
Calm, Ease
Smile, Release
Present Moment, Wonderful Moment 

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