I saw this quote this morning and knew it beckoned to be shared.
“When the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence, it may be that they take better care of it there.” – Cecil Selig
How often do you longingly gaze at someone else’s life circumstances and wonder “Why them and not me? How come they have the relationship, home, job, friends, success of MY dreams?” and then lean on the fence between your metaphorical yard and yours, admiring the green sprouts? What if, instead of pondering with a blend of resentment and resignation that it will never happen for you, you consider what it might have taken for that person to be having their experience and for you to be having yours? I ask myself a similar question often: “What would someone have to think or believe to be having the experience that I am having?” I pose that query in both celebration that things feel grand and in working on solutions for circumstances that in that moment, don’t feel so hot. Without fail, it comes down to attitude.
In those times when I recognize the boundless blessings that surround me, I see them everywhere. And in the moments, when I am feeling disgruntled, it is generally because I am seeing the world through smudgy glasses. I admit that there are some situations over which I have no control. People have expectations for who I ‘should be’ or what I ‘should’ be doing. Rules, regulations and the illusion of time dictate that I have a structure to follow, that rebel as I might, are the agreements I make in order to live as an independent, self supporting, responsible adult. I can fight them, metaphorically kicking and screaming and still they are there.
In tending to my own lush lawn that is my life, I take responsibility for its upkeep, weeding out discontent, fertilizing it (sometimes life circumstances supply the manure:), keeping it from drying out, by watering it with love and self-compassion and then enjoying the waving blades of grass tickling my tootsies. Sometimes with childlike abandon, I roll around in it, laughing with delight.
How are you tending your grass?
Meditation means something different to each person who engages in it. For some, it is a brief reprieve from the buzzy-busy business of life, for others a disciplined spiritual practice. In this easy to absorb, thorough guidebook, called Everyday Meditation: 100 Daily Meditations for Health, Stress Relief and Everyday Joy, author and long time meditator, Tobin Blake offers ideas and inspiration to create a practice that best serves the one who contemplates using it to enhance his or her life. What prepared him to write this book is, as it says in his bio on his website:
“He received his formal training in meditation through Self Realization Fellowship, which is an international organization with more than 500 temples and centers worldwide, founded by the great Paramhansa Yogananda. He was initiated in Kriya Yoga – SRF’s highest meditation technique – in 1995.” Tobin is also a student of A Course In Miracles.
I have to admit, that I read parts of this book while sitting in a chair at a nail salon, my feet immersed in warm soothing water, in anticipation of a pedicure. A Jackie Chan film was playing on the tv to my right and I found myself being distracted by his antics. The lovely woman offering nurturing for my footsies and the butterfly blouse wearing client to my left, laughed as they watched me go back and forth, head down in my book and up to chuckle with Jackie and his co-star Jennifer Love Hewitt as they did flips and kicks and turns to defeat the villians in the movie. So often it is with people who meditate. So many things call for our attention and we remind ourselves over and over to bring our focus back and ever back.
Tobin views meditation as “mystical moments that infuse life with meaning and a renewed sense of purpose.” and adds that “meditation is the practice of actively making yourself open to this experience and the far more compelling states that can follow.”
As chapter by chapter unfolds, he introduces the reader to three concepts:
Daily practice in which the 100 day shared journey will allow the experience to be that much richer the more it is experienced. Like any exercise, we become stronger and more flexible and the process that much easier and beneficial.
Understand and deal with the resistance. What often arises is the ‘I don’t wanna.’ reasons for not engaging, all the stuff that can come to the surface that we would choose to push back down.
Reprogram the waterfall refers to the endless flow of thought and monkey mind chatter that entice us away from our meditation.
The book then opens the door to the practices themselves as on Day 1 Tobin begins simply with sitting meditation (zazen) and breathing. Day by day, the experience deepens as the focus shifts to themes such as the chakras (wheels of energy in the body, each with its own color and resonance and purpose), the present moment (Day 31), the law of reciprocity (Day 60), forgiveness (Day 65), freedom (Day 83).
What it all seems to come down to is that each of us is our own best teacher and that folks like him, are guides who have traversed the path ahead of us, scattering lotus petals of wisdom like those that embellish the cover of the book, but it is up to us to scoop them up and use them as they best serve to bring us to a sense of samadhi.
If I didn’t know better, I would swear that three of my favorite authors: Dan Millman, Richard Bach and Dorothy Bryant had collaborated on the newly released novel entitled The Divine Arsonist. In the style of Way of the Peaceful Warrior, Illusions and The Kin of Ata Are Waiting For You, business man turned gifted writer Jacob Nordby mines gold in this page turner that I reluctantly needed to stretch out over a week’s time when I really wanted to take the journey with him in one fell swoop. Autobiographical allegory is the way I would describe the tale of a suit and tie professional who lived ‘the good life’ as defined by society, when in reality, he was dying a little bit inside.
He hears a call of something beyond his culturally prescribed existence that led him to take a trip to his woodland cabin in Idaho. There he meets the first of several guides who usher him into a world that challenges, terrifies, gratifies and ultimately heals him. The thread that runs through each powerful chapter is a knowing of who we truly are. Nothing is as it appears to be and Jacob is invited over and over to surrender, breathe and believe. The transformation that he describes in a vivid, gut twisting, soul streaming manner comes at the cost of letting go of all he thought was true and exchange it for something even grander. The purpose of this metamorphic/metaphoric adventure was to allow him to take his place as one whose calling is to be an even greater force for good in the world. Honest, succint, without pretense; he draws the reader in and it is hard to imagine declining the invitation. Regardless of gender or culture, the reader will recognize herself or himself in its pages.
This book is positively incendiary!
When I first saw this cartoon, I laughed with knowing awareness, since it is how I and many who meditate, find the practice to go. The truth is, meditation is ‘not what you think’. My initial foray into that realm occurred under water as I swam multiple laps for many years as a competitive swimmer, long before I put my tush on a meditation cushion or yoga mat. It seemed a natural thing to do, as I was in the ‘zone’, clocking mile after mile in chlorinated nirvana. I lost track of time, lost count of laps, my body cutting through the water seemingly effortlessly at times. At the end of the practice, shaking off the droplets, I felt both exhausted and exhilirated. These days, I appreciate the saying that prayer is talking to God, meditation is listening for the answer. I admit, that I don’t have a disciplined practice, catching glimpses of the insides of my eyelids (other than for sleep) not as often as I would like. I do know that when I do submerge into deep delta state, I emerge refreshed and re-energized…who wouldn’t want more of that?
When I am doing it solo, that dialogue in the cartoon is an accurate portrayal, a running patter in my ever so active, swinging from the trees monkey mind, chattering at me about all the things I could be/should be doing rather than ‘wasting’ my time traveling in other realms…plenty of opportunity while I am sleeping, is what I tell myself. When I experience guided meditation in the presence of someone who is soothing of voice and deft of technique, I immerse more deeply, letting go of control. I don’t always remember what happens in that state, but I know that I am receiving benefit nonetheless. Music helps me too, as a beckoning invitation to float away on its melodious and harmonic raft. I welcome entering the zen zone~