Friday, April 29, 2011

Quieting the Mind at IMS

I have just returned from a mediation retreat at the Insight Mediation Society which focuses on mindfulness. It was a grueling and wonderful 3 1/2 days of agitation, contemplation and reflection. It seems like the first 2 days were a roller coaster of excitement and avoidance, attempting to settle into a quiet mind. By the 3rd day I was falling head over heals with life itself.

I picked up a book while there titled Coming to Our Senses : Healing Ourselves and the World through Mindfulness by Jon Kabiat- Zinn. I am just starting it but would like to share his insightful prose.

"The world needs all its flowers, just as they are, and even though they bloom for only the briefest of moments, which we call a lifetime. It is our job to find out one by one and collectively what kind of flowers we are, and to share our unique beauty with the world in the precious time that we have, and to leave the children and grandchildren a legacy of wisdom and compassion embodied in the way we live, in our institutions, and in our honoring of our interconnectness, at home and around the world. Why not risk standing firmly for sanity in our lives and in our world, the inner and outer a reflection of each other and of our genius as a species?"

"The creative and imaginative efforts and actions of every one of us count, and nothing less that the health of the world hangs in the balance. We could say that the world is litterly and metaphorically dying for us as a species to come to our senses, and now is the time. Now is the time for us to wake up to the fullness of our beauty, to get on with and amplify the work of healing ourselves, our societies, and the planet, building on everything worthy that has come before and that is flowering now. No intention is to small and no effort insignificant. Every step along the way counts. And, as you will see, every single one of us counts."

While walking in the forest, I was so taken with these transparent leaves still clinging to life after such a fierce winter. Frankly, they reminded me of my 90 year old mother's translucent skin. It was only after spending some time with the tree that I realized there were new buds in the "ready" on each branch...the true miracle of the life cycle.

The teachers at this retreat center have spent years in mindfulness meditation and understand the multitude of difficulties in quieting the mind, with incredible benefits to the physical, mental and spiritual body.

My flight home was 5 hours delayed and went late into the night. Little miracles played out during that time in the "holding tank" including a very relaxed mind, kindnesses from complete strangers and learning that a young man sitting across from me was heading to Port au Prince in Haiti to work for 3 months at an orphanage.

The Dharma Seed website has a wealth of audio instruction for free in addition to many other related links. Check it out!

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