The Unifying Spirit of Meditation–by Brad Shore:
If you answer YES to any of these questions, I hope you’ll read on.
- Are you preoccupied with the next item on your to-do list, rather than focused on the task at hand?
- Do you have trouble concentrating?
- Are you often uneasy or restless?
- Does your mind race a mile a minute?
- Do you feel as though there are never enough hours in the day?
If any of that sounds like you, you could get a lot out of meditation. I started meditating about ten years ago. At that time, I would have answered all five of those questions with an emphatic YES! Now, these difficulties bother me only occasionally and to a relatively slight degree.
Meditation is all about focus, about living in the moment. At its best, meditation is a physical, mental, and spiritual exercise, though many practitioners focus on only one or two dimensions. Meditation can be as simple as a focused breathing exercise. Some forms, such as certain types of contemplative prayer, can take a lifetime to master.
Meditation and Mortality: Practice and Parkinson’s–by Arthur Zajonc:
“The diagnosis came a few months ago; I had stage one Parkinson’s disease. The most prominent symptom was a persistent resting tremor in my right hand. I had been meditating for many years, and now I was experiencing firsthand the ways in which meditation and a chronic medical condition can intersect.”
“I started my meditation practice in my usual way with the cultivation of humility, reverence, and calm. I slowly opened and closed my unsettled hand in synchrony with my shallow breathing. The tremor in my right hand gradually slowed as my meditation deepened and my awareness widened. The movements of my body associated with Parkinson’s became smaller and ultimately stopped. The jitters that accompany me during the day had finally ceased, and I found a place of rest and ease. I welcomed the silent spacious calm. It seemed as if a whole day’s agitation slid from my body.”
“Then, taking up a line of poetry as the focus for a concentrationpractice, I noted that my hand began to tremor once again. Returning to spacious awareness, the tremor disappeared. I have noted the difference consistently over recent weeks. Concentration practices stimulate the tremor whereas a practice of deep, silent, open awareness calms it.”
Only the Buzz Words Change–by Sue:
“A wise person I know describes mindfulness this way: Imagine that you put a puppy in the middle of the room. What is it going to do? Is it going to sit still? No, it will run off to find something fun to do. So you have to keep putting the puppy back in the middle of the room. You may have to do this many many times before the puppy stays in the middle of the room. It may not stay there today, so you can try again tomorrow.”
“The puppy is everything that intrudes on your meditation. The list of things you need to pick up on your way home. The appointment you need to make later on. The possibilities for tonight’s dinner menu. The criticism of yourself for not being focused enough or not “doing meditation” correctly. Endless, endless intrusions upon simply resting in the present moment that is now.”