Thursday, August 30, 2012

Living In The Center

Everything did not go my way yesterday. As a result I was a little frustrated. On the way home I needed to stop at my pharmacy for my monthly insulin. You don’t even want to know the copay on insulin. The drive thru was backed up so my wife went in while I waited in the car. Soon a very elderly couple walked in front of my parked car. Both were bent over, walking with canes, and moving very slow. I had a flash forward of ten or twenty years and saw myself. That was a reality check. When I finally got home, feeling a little frazzled, I remembered it was meditation night at the Buddhist temple. My body said, “Skip it and take a nap on that soft couch in your room”. It was very tempting. In a textbook case of mind over matter, I made myself change clothes and I headed out the door. Soon I was at the temple since it is only a few miles from my home. It was a Zen moment. Nothing happened. I sat in a dimly lit room with total strangers. Everyone was quiet and still. The Buddhist monk who led the meditation gently rang a bell and began to chant in a low voice. When he stopped we all just sat in the silence. These moments of calm were the antidote to the frustration I had experienced earlier in my day. The whole point of meditation, whether it be Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, or any other tradition, is to learn to live in your “center”. Often, however, life pulls you out of your center and you can feel frazzled or stressed. I have learned various techniques to help ground me and help me return to my center. In modern life it is a never ending tug of war. Sometimes, though, you just have to give up the nap and go sit in silence with strangers.

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