Buddhism, Healing, Meditation, Mindfulness

Brief Practice – Grateful Brain

The Covid Daze – I am so aware of the strains it has placed on myself and my world. I am a little short on joyous and grateful states of mind and short on enthusiasm. Apparently, this is a pretty common reaction from such an event and is actually a perfectly reasonable response to trauma. A malaise state. but I am feeling a little done with it personally.

Mind Clouds

Throughout these “times” I have continued to check in and sit with a group of Insight Meditators – on line. They have been my anchor point to return to practice again and again. “Just Begin Again” being my motto for 2021.

Sitting with Mission Dharma this week the teacher Howie Cohen shared his wife’s technique for gratefulness. She is using the phrase “I get to” instead of “I have to”. I get to go to work. I get to clean the house. Etc. I tried “I get to pay my taxes” and it brought the benefits I receive from the tax system to my mind!

It is an insightful short practice to interject into the day here and there. Reframing the lens the mind is viewing through. Creates the added benefit of giving a positive spin to something that needs to be done. I found it helpful with my “ Malaise”. Doing it with a compassion for self is even better. These have been strange days indeed.


Meditation, Mindfulness

Sangha – in These Times

I dwell in both Arizona and British Columbia. I was summoned back to Canada my birth country in March along with many other people to shelter in place from The Covid – since then my movements have been pretty contained. Like most of the rest of the world. I miss my easy ramblings.

You would think being restricted to home would be the perfect situation to practice meditation but the push back inside me to not practice has been tremendous. I have rebuilt a deck, shredded an enormous amount of documents, gardened a lot, ate a lot – but sitting has been really hard.

I have been joining my Meditation group from Scottsdale Arizona Monday nights and I have done 2 weekend Vipassana retreats led by Howie Cohen – via Zoom. This has been fabulous but my daily practice has been spotty. Just when it would be most supportive – I let this intense restlessness interrupt.

Last night Genevieve Tregor who leads the Scottsdale Sangha spoke directly to this. Like she magically could read my state! She shared she was feeling it – other’s in the Sangha did too. She suggested that agitation masks emotion we may want to look deeper into. A fellow practitioner pointed out that a walking meditation is helpful for the agitated body. Other ideas were discussed. What stayed with me was that I was in the company of folks having similar reactions to The Covid situation. Sangha is an immense support – in times like these. Just touching base with like minds has encouraged me and once more, as I suggested in my last post, I Begin Again.


Begin Again

Listening to Insight Timer presenter Joseph Goldstein recently – I heard him say “simply begin again”.

He was discussing how during mindfulness meditation we inevitably get caught in a flow of associated thoughts. His instruction was to give ourselves a gentle reminder to just return to the breath and begin again when we became aware that we have drifted. Not to struggle with why or to beat ourselves up for losing focus. Just simply begin again.

What I also gleaned from it was to use this phrase to bring myself back to my daily practice when I get distracted from my meditation for several weeks. Busy-ness still takes over my routine along with some jumpy emotions and I appreciate this reminder to just returning when I realize I have lost practice.

Based in Vispassana – I appreciate Joseph’s teaching.

I turn to Insight Timer for some assistance in my meditation practice – a lot. It has many free offerings but I have chosen to subscribe to support such a generous and enlightening meditation tool. Along with Joseph I have found several other great teachers to help my practice grow.

Peace ⭐️