Sharon Salzberg’s Real Happiness 28-Day meditation challenge starts Sunday and runs through February. It couldn’t come at a better time.
Blame it on the stars, blame it on the snow, blame it on my own failure to try hard enough to find the good in things as they are, the last week has been hard. It’s not just the two feet of snow on the ground in my part of New England, but the lack of daylight even as the sun stays up for minutes more each day, and the number of things that need to get done. Life feels small, dry, and airless.
My days already do include meditation, which is a commitment and a joy, but I welcome the challenge to bring it more fully into life, to be more mindful about it. It’s called “Real Happiness,” and the reminder is to look at the real, look at the happy, look at the attachments and projects that get between me and that state.
In the introduction to Real Happiness, Salzberg writes:
Despite my initial fantasies when I began meditating as a college student, I haven’t entered a steady state of glorious bliss. Meditation has made me happy, loving, and peaceful — but not every single moment of the day. I still have good times and bad, joy and sorrow. Now I can accept setbacks more easily, with less sense of disappointment and personal failure, because meditation has taught me to cope with the profound truth that everything changes all the time.
I usually meditate right after I get home from work (after I feed the cats to facilitate a more tranquil atmosphere). I look out a window. I am intimately familiar with the sunset — or the deepening of the grey on these dreary winter days when the sun never really pokes through the solid grey mass of clouds. It really does happen later every day. And the snow will melt — even the additional foot that might fall on Monday. The profound truth of impermanence.
Once I learned how to look deep within, I found the bright vein of goodness that exists in everyone, including me — the goodness that may be hidden and hard to trust but is never entirely destroyed. I came to believe wholeheartedly that I deserve to be happy, and so does everyone else.
Post by Nancy Thompson