Being Mindful & Learning to Meditate
As Eldon reaches an age where he is defiant and wants to do things himself, but still struggles to, it has been a bit testing on my positive vibe and peaceful intent. I noticed myself mentally cross boundaries that I can not control. If you are a mother, you know what I am talking about. Children are work. A little piece of work that is a growing ball of energy waiting to explode into THEM. That is why it is so very, very important to know how to control yourself and your actions, and to learn how to calm oneself down. This lead me to looking into Buddhism quotes; which lead me to listening to Podcasts; which lead me to taking more deep breaths and being mindful; which lead me to want to meditate and learn how to; which lead me to contacting Justin's cousin Kelly, who practices; which lead me to meeting with her.
Through all these leads that have helped with the coping of a 2 year old, has lead me to want more; to learn more about the culture, and to actually put it to practice. You know, Buddhism is not a religion. Buddhism is a way of life. Listen... I am a beginner. I am a student, a newcomer when it comes to this. What I do know is that my energy lead me to Buddhism because of the way of life that I want to live.
What I have learned thus far in my personal teachings is to be mindful with everything that you do. Being mindful also involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them—without believing, for instance, that there's a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment; ultimately, acceptance about who you are at this moment in your life.
A couple of examples of how you might be able to meditate:
While you are taking a shower, let the water hit you on the back. Don't think of anything else at the time. Feel your feet touching the surface of your shower. Feeling your breath as you breath in and out. Feeling the water as it hits your skin. That is being mindful. While you are doing laundry, focus on the way you fold; the placement of each cloth. This is being in the moment and letting go of other such thoughts that arise.
Eldon and I drove out to cousin Kelly's with the dogs. My only expectation was to ask her how she began and what it meant to her and her life. Like I said... this is the absolute beginning to my findings of what might be a lifestyle change. When we first got to Kelly's tranquil home, she had new books for Eldon and me. The books for Eldon were "Good Morning Yoga," "Good Night Yoga," and two "Moody Cow" books about meditating and learning compassion. The books she did not give them to me until the end of our session. We read the "Moody Cow Meditates" book to begin our teaching on how to meditate. This got Eldon interested in a Gong, and introduced me to why we mediate in the first place.
After reading the books, we sat on pillows and mats. Kelly had one her Eldon, TWO whole minutes he could bong the gong at the beginning and end of it. He impressed us both. He sat on the pillows, back held straight and hands on his knees. He bonged the gong and sat there... for about 30 seconds in silence. THAT was impressive!! We let him bong the gong one more time. His session was over. Time for mine.
When I thought about meditating, I didn't really know how to take the thoughts out of my mind. I would think about anything that came to my mind, and I would try and do it with my eyes closed. With Cousin Kelly's teachings, I learned closing your eyes actually narrows your focus. It is actually better to keep your eyes open. Keeping your eyes open brings you into the present. You are then able to see the here and now. If you sit on a pillow or something comfortable and soft, cross your legs, rest your hands on your knees or wherever feels comfortable. Make sure you have good posture, but not a posture that is uncomfortable. You want to be sitting up straight in a comfortable position. Once you are here, you want to let your eyes have a soft gaze about five to six feet in front of you; kind of away, but down. From here you want to free your thoughts. This is where you think about your butt being grounded and one with the earth. Listen to your breaths going in and out; do this for ten minutes.
I was telling Kelly the reasons I wanted to start. About how Eldon makes me feel crazy sometimes and I don't want to blow up on him. I want to be able to look at his whining little cute tantrum face and say, "It's going to be OK honey, what do you want?" And how it s going to be a new chapter when we get into our new home, and how leaving my job is going to be the best thing for me. I will be able to focus more. She would quietly nod her head and agree, (or at least I thought she was agreeing. She might have been thinking this young lady has a ways to go.) but then she would kindly remind me to focus on being kind to myself and others. She said this more than three times... it has to mean more I thought, but I did not pry. I will let time tell in my teachings.
One of the books Kelly gave me is called "The Wisdom Of No Escape, and the Path of Loving-Kindness, by Pema Chodron- a Shambhala Classic," along with "Shambhala, The Sacred Path of the Warrior, by Chogyam Trungpa." On the inside of each book Kelly wrote, "To Robin Arramae, with love from Kelly." I can't exactly remember why she chose these two books to give me, but there is a reason behind them. I believe The first book, the wisdom book, was one she wanted me to begin with because it will give me a nice introduction, and the Shambhala book was written by the father of her teacher. I also think that Shambhala is the name of a type of meditation practice. :)
Ya... I have a lot of learning to do. I am grateful for everything thus far, and look forward to what teachings come my way, through personal gain and through the wisdom of others.