Practicing mindfulness, (for me) needs near constant commitment. . .

I’m not a great meditator, in the traditional sense.  When I first got sober I took a course in Transcendental Meditation, as did many of my friends.  It had become the rage in the seventies.  I paid $75.00 for the training and a mantra that I was assured was spoken by no one other than me.  I believed them.  They also said I must not tell any one what my mantra was or it would lose its “power.”  Again, I believed them.  And for more than two years I meditated twice daily for the assigned twenty minutes, morning and late afternoon.  Ha rum, Ha rum, I whispered quietly, over and over and generally, before the end of the twenty minutes, I had slipped into a deep, very silent space.  I loved it actually.

I’m not sure it changed me much but the ritual was just what I needed.  The meditations were like book ends for the very busy life I had as a graduate student and teacher.  The books written about TM made claims that communities that practiced it en masse went from violent to peaceful and we’d feel more peaceful too if we developed the practice, and in the process, we’d add value to our community.

I did develop the practice but continued to live with fear and an over-ripe indulgence of expressed anger.  I think my ego was simply stronger than my willingness to shift my perception.  The ego is very strong and unyielding.  Our willingness to choose a different way to perceive our situation and the people we walk among takes near constant vigilance.  I’m certainly glad I did have this experience more than thirty years ago because coming back to a form of mindfulness practice now excites me.  And even though I am not choosing TM, per se, I think that any practice that invites us into the quiet for a spell is good for us.  And good for the people we live and work among.  I have become a proponent, in books and talks, of the idea that how we greet the people close to us is also felt by the people we will never see. What we do to one, we do to all.

Practicing a few minutes of mindful stillness every day is helping me in my daily interactions I think.  It’s common to millions of people here in the western hemisphere and certainly many millions in the eastern hemisphere.  Surely my simple efforts can’t hurt.  I think what ever any one of us can do to make this a more peaceful world is worth the time and the effort on behalf of the generations that will follow us.

Do you practice any form of meditation?  Share your thoughts, please.


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