You’ll remember a few weeks back I wrote a post about my experience during a retreat organised to teach Mindfulness to a cohort of psychiatrists. I’ll add the link at the end of the post, just in case you didn’t see it (or you want to refresh your memory. Not that I’m saying it’s the most memorable post ever written on the subject but…).
I thought that I’d probably be back to talk more about it. As I explained, to be considered a ‘practitioner’ by the College of Mindful Clinicians you had to practice mediation continuously, every day without a fault, for 90 days. So far, I haven’t failed a day. I got a message that I had reached 30 days last week. (As I review this post on the 4th I’ve gone over 40).
How am I finding it? Well, as I said in my first post, I wasn’t sure if it would be for me. I still don’t know. Some days I realise by the end of the meditation that my mind has been wondering all the time (or it feels like it), others, not so much. More recently I’ve been trying some of the guided meditation routines, as I find it easier to try and focus my mind on what the person is saying, and I’ll keep on checking. Interestingly enough, through Insight Timer I got a message of thanks this week (I think it was Tuesday) when somebody thanked me for meditating with her. It was a nice detail.
Life has ways of putting you to test. Today (27th of October, as I write posts in advance and schedule them when I can) was one of those days. I had agreed to do psychiatric assessments out of hours and somebody called me to ask me to do one. I’m going to be leaving my job in the next few months and it was the last thing I wanted to do, but didn’t think I could say no as I had offered and forgot to withdraw the offer. Who else were they going to find on a Sunday? Broadband wasn’t working, so could not let people know what I was doing. I had to go shopping in a hurry because shop would not be open when I came back. The assessment itself proved a bit problematic, but we eventually reached a resolution. In the meantime I had managed to connect via phone and been not very kind to somebody who caught me on a bad moment. I got home, tried to do something I had been working on yesterday (and spent some money on too) and realised it would not work. And then, of course, my printer run out of ink and when I went to change it, I had two cartridges that were the wrong type. I might try to return them, but have no idea where the receipt might be after all this time. Nothing major, but enough to put me in a bad frame of mind.
When I visited Hay-on-Wye (yes, I’ve also written a post about that too), I bought a book by Pema Chödrön, called ‘When Things Fall Apart’. Her works had been recommended at the retreat and I thought maybe this was the time to have a look. I’ve only read a few chapters but she encourages us to look at things and stay with things when they are irritating, collapsing around us, and cause us fear. Not running away from them will make us more aware of ourselves and who we are. Not necessarily happier, but I guess more us, and maybe we’ll learn to be kinder to ourselves, and with that, to others.
She mentions the story one of her teachers used to tell when asked about fear. He explained how his own teacher encouraged him to confront things that made him afraid. One day he was going with two other students to a monastery and there was a huge dog chained by the door. It was pulling at the chain and appeared intent on attacking them. Suddenly the chain broke and the dog leaped forward running towards them. The other two students froze and screamed in fear. Pema’s teacher explained that he started running towards the dog. The dog was so surprised that it turned around, its tail between its legs.
As she writes:
‘We can meet our match with a poodle or with a raging guard dog, but the interesting question is — what happens next?’
In my case, I think I need to learn to say no rather than spend my life feeling aggrieved by things that I don’t need to do. I also need to be realistic with my expectations (of other people, sure, but mostly of myself). And I need to give myself some space and take it a bit easier… And, of course, check the type of cartridges I buy. Let’s hope broadband will be back once the storm is over…Or I can always change providers…
Thank you for reading, and if you’ve enjoyed it or it has made you think, please comment, share, like…And you don’t even have to click today (unless you want to read my previous posts). (And update as I’m checking this before publishing it… The supermarket took the cartridges back. The broadband thing… seems to be a problem with the phone installation inside of my house, so nothing to do with the provider).
Here links to my previous posts:
- Pema Chodron – Working with Shenpa (Getting Hooked) in Meditation (findmedicalsolutions.com)
- How to Meditate – Pema Chodron (senecadrive.wordpress.com)
- Pema Chodron – Quote (juliajs530.wordpress.com)
- Pema Chodron (happybirthdayhappyface.wordpress.com)
- Tonglen meditation (meepolife.wordpress.com)
- Working with fear (thisjustin.wordpress.com)
- Fourth Meeting (trondheimbuddhistassociation.wordpress.com)
- Meditation is Not Religion or Spirituality – It’s Technology (religiondispatches.org)
- Power Down and Tune In to Solitude (billmoyers.com)