I attended the Dharma meeting tonight. There were three other people there, including one of Diane's sons (her youngest, of course). It was frigid (no heat), but luckily I was well-layered, and once I sat down on the cushy sofa, I felt sufficiently insulated above and below. We had a pleasant Q&A, with me doing all the Qs, and Jon doing the As with some assists from his brother and Diane. Small group, but good start.
I realized I am in need of more meditation in my life. In the reading about Buddhism that was handed around, the word "madman" caught my eye -- how we run around, behaving like madmen, if we are not mindfully aware of reality! Yes, that's a radical word, but I immediately realized that it perfectly described me earlier today. I felt this great onrush of stress at work today, and my mind became so foggy, and I couldn't concentrate on anything and was snapping at other people. Yes, me, snapping! (That's really nothing special -- ask my kids, or my husband -- a daily occurrence!) So here is how Buddhism is so helpful for me: Buddhism's major focus is duka (?), or suffering, and the end of suffering, and one of the English translations of the term for suffering is "stress."
We did a 5-minute group meditation session tonight which felt incredibly short, and left me longing for more. Practicing meditation, in itself, could be a stressful proposition -- for example, with exercise, I get frantic if I can't fit it in pretty much every day, and resentful of the other things that consume my time.
So, how? How to have time for wonderful things like meditation and exercise, which also seem so completely selfish and self-centered? But it's not selfish to breathe, eat, and sleep, (read, write!), and these things are along the same line. I need them to be effective in every other part of my life. Meditation allows the mind to slow down enough to become creative, energetic, helpful, to see the possibilities and get rid of the mental blocks. And without daily practice, the mind just scurries around, trapped like a rodent running on its wheel endlessly.
At the meeting, Jon described something that sounded very advanced to me, channeling positive energy in the breath during meditation and then releasing it specifically to help with a particular need -- for example, someone with cancer, someone suffering in any other way. But that presumes that the person doing so has overcome their own energy-draining needs, and furthermore, that they can focus their mind and project their energy that way. I am certain that this happens with intense prayer, and with advanced meditation, all the time, and it makes a positive change in the world every time. I've actually felt it happen while in intense, focused prayer, and toward the end of meditation sessions -- but it's usually quite brief and hard to sustain. That whiff of energetic love, being released with a mission to heal, to help.
Here's a neat trick, too: feeling and demonstrating that much capacity for love with every person. Wow, that is a tall order. But you've met people who do that, who just radiate love and compassion, and I have too. An amazing number of people, actually. Even one is an amazing number, and I could probably name 10 or more I've met in my lifetime. Many of these people were members or leaders of a church, I'm happy to report. It is reassuring to know that churches attract the good and loving, as well as the evil, and the rest of us!
Good night! I wish for you happiness.
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