Meditation takes personal determination…let’s face it, changing habits is difficult. (They say that habits die a few hours after we do!) However, with commitment and connecting to others who are also cultivating mindfulness in their lives, all things are possible. Do not be discouraged!
Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issue from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man (or woman) could have dreamed would have come his (or her) way.
Whatever you can do or dream, you can begin it.
Boldness has genius, magic and power in it. Begin it now.
J.W. Goethe, (1749 – 1832) German dramatist, novelist, poet, & scientist
For most people, developing and sticking to a meditation practice at home is challenging and sometimes frustrating, while practicing in a group offers a place to ask questions and simply feel the joy of having company on this path of awakening. This camaraderie lessens the confusion and the isolation. So come to a class or daylong or retreat and feel what it is like to “be in this together” and the joy and reassurance of sharing experience and insights.
Think of mindfulness meditation practice as a laboratory (in vitro) to wake up the natural wisdom and compassion within you so that you can be in the world (in vivo) of relationships, work, and play with more joy, clarity, and peace…moment to moment, breath by breath even when old habits patterns arise — this is not about some idealize perfection, it’s about being real. And it is more than stress-reduction or getting comfortable with difficulty; this is a path of liberation from suffering:
My friends, It is through the establishment of the lovely clarity of mindfulness that you can let go of grasping after past and future, overcome attachment and grief, abandon all clinging and anxiety, and awaken an unshakeable freedom of heart, here, now.
The following meditation guidelines for practicing mindfulness meditation on your own come from my dear friend and teacher, Tara Brach, founder of Insight Meditation Community of Washington, DC.