Deep in the middle of another frigid February with record snowfall, I jumped into my bright red Honda to take a 500 mile drive to a remote meditation center. The trip was my first expedition into the unknown continent of meditation and Mindfulness Practice, it wouldn’t be my last. As I drove up the snowy twisty mountain road, the large stone retreat appeared, it was surround by huge snow drifts and painted by what I would soon come to realize was a relentless howling wind. My apprehension peaked.
Once inside I was led to my small room and handed 2 pages of rules, my apprehension continued to climb. Finally I was left alone and I quickly escaped out a fire-door (no alarm). Standing in a freezing windy alcove lighting my cigarette a voice said “hello,” I looked up to see an older man smiling at me while also smoking a cigarette. “It’s nice to have company” said the old man, I nodded and stared back while taking a puff and shielding the precious from the wind. “What are you afraid of?” he blurted out from behind his smile, “I’m not afraid of anything, why would you ask me that?” I replied. “It’s obvious you’re unsure of why you’re here, your running from something,” he said. He was right, but how could this rumpled man who appeared to be the janitor know I was running from something? I started to protest when he raised his hand to cut me off, “take a day before giving into your fears and running again,” he said while dropping his lit cigarette into a can on the ground. As he reached the door he said “we’ll talk again,” and was gone.
I ended up staying for a few days before moving on to a Zen center that turned out to be only thirty miles from my home, the irony was not lost on me. I had many more conversations with the old man both standing outside while smoking and while sitting alone in the meditation hall, (hint: he wasn’t the janitor). I’ll share more of what we talked about in other posts.
Noise abounds both outside our heads and more importantly, inside our heads. The noise is like the sirens in Greek mythology, but instead of being lured onto the rocks we are being lured into distraction and losing our connection to the creative and innovative spirit we all posses. It’s that spirit that mindfulness can nurture and help to bloom into extraordinary things.“Restore your attention by dramatically slowing down whatever you're doing.” Sharon Salzberg, Click To Tweet
I put together a list of mindfulness resources below to aid you with your mindfulness practice. If you find it useful please leave a comment or pen a tweet using #dialoguecreates
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