The other day, my former UVM student Ari led the meditation at the Exquisite Mind Psychotherapy and Meditation Studio in Burlington, Vermont. He gave us a lovely little reminder of how to practice. He invited a view of practice as the “gentle return” and quoted Pema Chodron as saying this return should be regarded as “No Big Deal.”
That is, return to now from wherever without recrimination, condemnation, or even disappointment. Just pick up the breath and body wherever it is and continue. “No big deal.” And this, of course, is a choice. We can make a big deal of it or not.
Gentleness can prevail whether we have to come back once or a thousand times. After all, what else do you have to do? You’re already on the cushion, so why not come back with gentleness?
Of course, “no big deal” applies to off the cushion as well. When you find yourself caught up in some story that’s making you feel bad, just come back to something happening now like your breath and body sensations.
Thanks Ari and go gentle!