Gloaming: Meditation March & Metta May

I start my day, mark the middle & end it with a walk to the living space I’ve been retreating at since December. Often it’s the time right before sunrises & just after the sun has fallen past the valley ridge.  Being night blind light of pre-dawn & the gloaming have always put me on alert.  Either I’ve stayed up too late, gotten waaaaay too early or I’m about to loose most of my vision as artificial lighting kicks in.  During the challenge I’ve been using the time to do some mindful walking meditation. It’s been in these walks I’ve been able to see marked improvement in my concentration and an increase in gentleness towards my thoughts & in turn myself.

Since the start of the challenge I’ve seen subtle yet significant shifts in my perspective & how I relate to my monkey mind.  The racing thoughts are still raging when I first rise & when I head to bed but having a daily practice has given me a way not to be drawn into the drama of the experience. Before I was making space for regular meditation I saw the torrent of ideas, lists & jumping story lines of my mind to be something tolerated at best.  Spending time on the cushion has flipped that script at a fundamental level and I’m grateful for that.

Like my speeding thoughts I’ve learned to simply observe the blue light & be present for the direct experience of things.  I’m still laying lots of add ons but I’m no longer beating myself up for them. The Gloaming instead of being a harbinger of darkness I’m relating to like an old friend.  Neat how that works with a little practice & commitment to being mindful.

Trying to express meditation insights isn’t my strong suit and isn’t something us Tibetan Vajrayana practitioners traditionally engage in.  Daily sitting, the keeping of a journal & having an online community to bounce reflections by in my blog articles have helped me shore up my meditation foundation in a way I’ve never been able to before. I know in my heart the only way to keep that is to continue with the small steps I’ve learned with all of you.

Photo by David Gabriel Fischer

I am very aware of the privilege I have to be able to practice meditation. It’s something I struggle with daily. Alot of people I know don’t have this luxury I’ve been afforded. In the past it was a source of guilt but in the spirit of the changes in my perspective I am committing to be brave about it.  Instead of being in the closet about the reality of my practice and avoiding mentioning it to others I will be continuing the challenge.  It’s a way to stay the right track personally by having a community to hold myself accountable while giving back to those who might be about to have the same opportunity I have had the past couple months.

Through March, April and beyond I’ll using the tools suggested in Sharon Salzberg’s Real Happiness books along with the virtual sangha that’s emerged with the yearly 28 Day challenge. We’re joining Tricycle Magazine’s ‘Meditation Month’ & will be using the hashtag #MeditationMarch to connect with others making a commitment to daily meditation practice.  Tricycle is hosting ‘The Boundless Heart: An Eight Week Online Course with Sharon Salzberg‘ for those looking for something with some structure & great livestream events.  For those with limited resources Tricycle is does have a program to make it more affordable. Follow the link to learn more or to apply for a needs based scholarship.

Once we get through #MeditationMarch we’ll be taking a short break then picking things back up May 1st with the hashtag #MettaMay. Stay tuned for details on our attempt to crowd source some online lovingkindess practice as an scrappy online community. The group of us have also been using the mobile Insight Timer as a way to meditate together, virtually while keeping a digital notes from our sits. It has a great option to post to social media that we’re quite fond of.

I hope you’ll join us on the mat & online the next couple months as we commit to sit again & again. One breath & Sit at a time.

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,