To let you know a little about me:
I became interested in meditation and mindfulness decades ago when I first heard that silent retreats were a thing. This was probably in the early 90s- years afer Joseph Goldstein, Sharon Salzberg and Jack Kornfield established the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Mass. but well before mindfulness became a buzz word. My first teacher mentioned that most people come to these practices through suffering, through having difficulties in and with life —-was that true for me? And the most truthful answer I had for her then was, “No”. I hadn’t really faced many hardships, certainly not any of sufficient magnitude to cause me to suffer. No, I said. I was curious about meditation because I felt a resonance to the teachings I had learned through my study of Buddhist art and because I savored silence. So I began my practice under her instruction and, to provide further guidance, I ordered the set of a dozen tape cassettes that Salzburg and Goldstein had recorded to introduce insight meditation.
I clearly remember the instruction that hooked me on this path for good and it’s one that I still invoke from time to time today. It was on a very early cassette; Sharon’s voice, gently reminding me that, even though my mind might wander from the anchor of the breath, I could always begin again by returning my attention to the focus. The word that struck me, actually touched something in my heart, was the “always”. I heard in that word a permission, what I now would describe as a permission to be my very human self. That my wandering mind wasn’t so much a mistake or wrong-doing as it was a natural movement of the mind and that noticing that movement was a part of the practice. What a relief.
Since those early days, I have attended numerous retreats, received training in teaching meditation and mindfulness, led and taught classes, practice groups and retreats. I have maintained a personal practice throughout this time—-with a few stretches of lapses here and there. And I have read a lot. These pursuits have made huge differences in my life—-some of which I will be sharing on this blog. Also- all along, I have written short pieces about the principles and understandings that have seemed especially relevant to how we as humans in this 21st century might live more awake and satisfying lives.
My hope is that you as readers will also find these posts to be relevant to your lives. If you want to hear more about anything (or less), please let me know. I look forward to what this exchange may bring.