Saturday, 1 December 2012

Open the Door - the meditation advent calendar

"Time passes. Listen! Time passes." - Dylan Thomas

Meditation practice (sitting quietly and observing the breath) is becoming more and more mainstream as study after study reveals the enormous benefits to the meditator and the communities they live in.

Beginning a practice, and perhaps more importantly, continuing it regularly, can be tricky to achieve. I've heard it said that seeking happiness through quietening the mind is almost the opposite of seeking pleasure. 

With pleasure seeking, the reward is instant, and often the price comes later in the form of a hangover, credit card bill etc. In the case of meditation, we really only start to experience the benefits after we've engaged in some regular practice. 

Until we've established a regular routine it's often tempting to put off meditating and to go and do something with an instant reward. The sense of peace and happiness which arises through regular meditation however, cannot begin to compare with the fleeting pleasures we may experience in other activities. Even 10 or 20 minutes a day can make a large difference to the quality of our lives.

The meditation advent calendar
Here's an idea, as it's the beginning of December why not go out and buy an advent calendar. Then make a commitment to spend 10 minutes practicing meditation before opening the advent calendar door each day. 

Opening the advent calendar can act as a metaphor for opening the door to our mind, and of course, chocolate tastes so much better when we eat it with full awareness. Looking back at all those open doors as the days pass we can be reminded of how many doors to the mind we've opened and be encouraged to continue.

By the time Christmas comes we'll have already established our meditation practice and be ready to start the new year in a more peaceful, open and happy state. 

Once awareness has been tasted it's something very difficult to forget! 

Image courtesy of Aesop

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The Wise Old Tree

"When autumn arrives, the trees do not cling to their leaves."

Nature has a great way of recognizing the right thing at the right time and with no sense of attachment, letting go when that time comes to an end. It's November and all around me I can see a carpet of leaves, lying deep red and shimmering gold on the ground. 

For months they have been the trees' faithful servants, collecting sunlight and turning it into energy for growth. The trees remained deeply connected to their tiny factories, exchanging nutrients and providing everything they needed to flourish. In return the leaves have provided the tree with vital stores of energy.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

The Biggest Lottery

“We’ve come a long way to belong here” - Jason Mraz 

Looking around the world there is so much to be concerned about. The economy is in tatters, there’s a crisis in the Euro, civil wars are brewing, the terrorists could be anywhere and everywhere and even if we make it to old age, there may be no pension funds left. 

Sometimes it’s hard to find the time to worry about all the things we need to worry about. Actually though, all those are nothing compared to the real big worry, something so big it could mean the end of the world for all of us! 

What if I never get born?