We are the World, April version

Mahatma Gandhi and Sarojini Naidu during the S...

Mahatma Gandhi and Sarojini Naidu during the Salt Satyagraha of 1930 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I realized today I completely spaced out yesterday about posting for We are the World Blogfest, but I still wanted to add a piece.  Since I’m all about peaceful activism and finding new ways to accomplish change with love and compassion, I was pleased to read this piece in Positive News about a movement for Gentle Protest: https://www.positive.news/2017/society/26751/the-art-of-gentle-protest/

If you’d like to join in with your own post about something positive, add your link here

Save

J2P Monday: two more weeks on this challenge

Dove peace

Dove peace (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This month the challenge has been to post about creating peace through governments, programs, policies, etc.  Whether you think it’s environmental initiatives, treaties, ending hunger, etc., write about the issue you think could change the world.  The next challenge will be posted on the first Monday in April, so you have a little extra time.

I also put out a couple of exercises to do if you want some help getting an idea for this post here and here.

Don’t forget to add this link: https://bluegrassnotes.wordpress.com/2015/03/02/j2p-monday-new-challenge-is-peace-out-there/ (so I get a pingback and others can see it in the comments list) and tag it with J2PChallenge and Journey2Peace.

Praying and “Doing”

Today at Sarvodaya's Early Morning meditation

Today at Sarvodaya’s Early Morning meditation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been thinking about this follow-up to my post about activism since I put it up; it’s taken me a while to pull my thoughts together.  In the first post I put an emphasis on prayer, meditation, etc. as my “to do” list for peace.  Now I want to ruminate on my idea of how to take action.

“After you pray, then do something” is a frequent piece of advice in the world of metaphysics.  I’ve been criticized because some feel my work doesn’t emphasize enough of the “doing”.  I think the issue is more about defining what doing is and how we decide on an action plan.

First, I have to say I’ve been startled many times when I bring up praying as a tool, how many spiritually-minded people object, “But you can’t just pray, you have to do something!”  And I think, “Wow, when did praying become nothing?”  [In fact I wrote about it here and here]  While I don’t think prayer is the only thing to do, I think it’s an important thing to do.

I also believe that tuning in as a first step, whether it’s through prayer, meditation, pranayama or … (you fill in the blank), is the most important thing we can do.  Because the thing about all those action plans people like to carry out is they come from the brain and not the heart or spirit.  They come loaded with all the baggage of fear and anger carried by the people who formulate them.  What I find time after time is that the plans I conceive when I tune inward are usually entirely different than the plans I form with my mind.

A very micro-level personal example from long ago:  when I did my yoga teacher training at the Temple of Kriya Yoga, getting to the Temple from where I lived seemed like a “no good way to get there from here” dilemma.  I used my reasoning powers, based on the roads I knew, to figure out how to get there.  Week after week I was late, running into traffic, accidents, construction, etc. on every route I tried.  Every week on the way to the garage my inner voice named a route.  It wasn’t a route I knew and my mind didn’t even know it could be done so I rejected it every time.  Finally one of the teachers gave us quite a scolding about too many being late.  So the next week I looked at a map and realized my guidance had been trying to show me a route that was almost direct; straight from Evanston to the Temple from my house–something I didn’t know you could do.  I was never late again.

In that example I wasn’t even meditating first, though I think I started tuning in as I prepared for the class, giving my ‘little voice” an opening to keep piping up with what it knew.

At the level of All That Is, higher consciousness, God, the Universe (whatever your favorite name for it is) there is so much more awareness and knowledge–beyond anything our ordinary minds know or can plan.  And the answer is often not only far removed from what I “thought” I should do but often the action suggested doesn’t look like action to ordinary mind.

Here in the U.S., we’re doers; we like to be on the go, getting stuff done all the time [purposely not speaking about the rest of the world as I don’t have the hubris to assume I know whether you are or aren’t doers in the same way].  I’ve also noticed that for the most part the majority don’t care whether the action is ultimately the best we could do as long as it seems right at the time and we’re “doing something”.

When it comes to peace, when large groups pray or chant or meditate for peace many studies have shown crime, terrorism, violence and accidents in the area go down dramatically.  I’ve seen so many amazing things come from the power of collective meditation and prayer, I believe that they may be the most powerful tools we have.  I also think if there IS some action to take, prayer and meditation can provide better answers; ones we would never think of using only our minds.

There’s such widespread belief in the power of prayer for healing people who are ill.  Why is it so easy to believe that prayer can heal an ailing person but not an ailing world?

I do believe in action.  But I believe that prayer is action.  I believe that meditation is action.  I believe that the answers we receive in meditation about the next step to take are the answers we really need.  I believe prayer is something.

Managing Manna: part two

Rush hour on US Route 101 through Millbrae, Ca...

Rush hour on US Route 101 through Millbrae, California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Serge King likes to tell stories.  The second important thing I learned about manna arrived with a story that I’ve never forgotten.  His wife, he told us, doesn’t like to drive in slow, congested traffic conditions like rush hour.  She could spend hours a day for years building a level of manna that would be enough to overcome the powerful beliefs of hundreds of thousands of other drivers about what happens at rush hour.  She could do that and hope to build enough energy to some day be able to create a clear flow for her car to move swiftly through the city at rush hour.  Instead, she doesn’t drive at rush hour.

Just because the “thoughts create reality” theory implies that you can use your thoughts to do anything doesn’t mean that it should always be your choice to focus your energy on changing/shifting/magnetizing something.  Realistically even if you do practice to build manna, you still have a given level and vibrational tone.  It’s unlikely that you’re going to build a level of energy that will let you stop hurricanes, alter the flow of traffic, magnetize the lottery, release old beliefs, attract a better relationship and change careers to be successful at another.

Sometimes you have to choose which things in life are worth focusing your energy on and which have some other solution or can be left alone.

I find a great relief at times in realizing that I have to stick within the limits of my energy.  Sometimes when I mention a thought pattern that’s clearly negative or mildly detrimental in some way, someone will imply that I should be using affirmations or will or something to shift it.  Like most people, though, my life is filled with thought patterns from my past, from ancestral threads, from past lives.  I don’t have the energy to change every pattern at once.  I tell them I’m working on as many issues as I feel I can handle and that one just isn’t high enough on the priority list for me to focus energy and attention on it now.

On bigger things it’s easier for me to see.  I like moderately warm, sunny days with low humidity.  In California that weather predominated.  Here in Kentucky, not so much; in fact kind of rare.  Now I could practice chi gung a few hours a day to build manna/chi to the immense level I’d need to impact the weather patterns here.  But I live with the weather that’s here.  I don’t have to give it much thought to know that I’m not going to spend years working that hard just to have different weather.  If it meant that much to me, I could move back to California.

Not only do you need to have a level of manna that is at least as high as the level of what you’re trying to shift or change, but you also have to make choices about what you want to use your manna for.

Another example from Serge helped to illustrate that:  if you are making $500 a month and you decide you want to magnetize a $50 million lottery, you might spend your lifetime to do it.  The gap between the energy you’re holding that draws only $500 and the giant lottery is so immense it’s unlikely to happen.  But if you’re making $500 and you start affirming that you now make $1000, that’s a small build that is believable to your consciousness and in line with the amount of manna you have.  Then when you get the $1000 if you focus on $2000, this step by step process is likely to work.  Substitute whatever element of life you want instead of money and the step by step process is similar.

When I realized that my low energy had a big impact I could see that building my energy and restoring my health were the necessary first steps for me to build to the career and life I see for myself.

Do you consciously choose where to focus your energy?

See last post for part one.

New Deva Premal Meditation Series

Love, love, loved this series when I tried it last fall.  Highly recommend it.  I think I managed to get the picture so clicking will take you to the web site page instead of another page that just has the picture.  I’d love to think you all are chanting along with me!

Lovely exercise on Bardo Group post

Painted tray by Laurie Rohner

Since the post below is responding to a post in Bardo Group’s lovely environmental-inspired challenge for Valentine’s Day, I thought some of Laurie’s art would be appropriate. And it seemed time to introduce you to her home decor and furniture art.  So check over here to see more of her lovely pieces.

When I started reading Terry Stewart’s post on Bardo Group today I was sitting on the floor with my laptop in my lap and something or other on the Olympics airing on the nearby T.V.  But as soon as I started reading the exercise she gave us I started doing it.  I never did get up and shift to a likelier place and it took a few minutes before it occurred to me to turn off the sound on the television but somehow I became deeply engaged.

From the first level of feeling into the earth and asking Her, “What is your desire,” I started getting back, “For you to be healed so that I can heal.”  At first startled and wondering if I’d made it up, I kept moving upward with the exercise and at every level the answer from earth, “For you to be healed so that I can heal.”

Now, I’ve been convinced for a long time that our dis-ease, emotional and physical, corresponds with Earth’s issues and that human healing means Earth healing.  And I’ve been sure for a long time that the long, mysterious process of ill health and trouble finding answers is an important piece of my path.  But I never quite connected my own healing so directly with being part of Earth’s healing.

When I reached third eye, I received not just that message but a very strong knowing that this healing journey and what I can bring to others about my process is why I’m here.  Whew!  I’m still reeling from the power I felt as I moved through this exercise.  While hanging out on the floor with my laptop.  And my screen continually switching to the screensaver and keeping me from seeing the next instruction.  And the t.v. on…

Thanks, Terry.  Loved it!  I highly recommend that y’all check out the post and try the exercise.

When meditation is a buffer…

http://betweentheweeds.com/

Laurie Rohner’s Shop

Laurie’s expanding her world of art this year so be sure to check her out.

I’ve been slowly moving back to more practice after several weeks of being pretty sporadic about chanting, meditating, exercising, etc.  I realized without all that centering and balancing that I’m a little depressed.  No big deal and I suspect part of the clearing process I’m in, but it reminded me of a lesson I learned long ago about those lovely practices.

If you’re not careful to do them in a way that invites them to open you up and with awareness of any feelings that arise and then to do something to let go of them (by whatever practice or mindful means you choose), meditation and energy practices can create another layer that buries your issues even deeper.  A nice, calm, much-more-pleasant layer, but a layer nonetheless.

We talked about this in my Fischer-Hoffman group, where we used the concept of a diamond heart that is your true essence.  It winds up surrounded by a circle of the bad feelings and self-doubts and negative beliefs you hold.  Then around that layer you place the facade that you want the world to see.  Meditation can become a crutch that creates an illusion of serenity that really just adds serenity as a layer that makes the diamond heart even more buried.

I realized the truth of this around the same time, thanks to a horrible roommate situation.  Her behavior toward me, my belongings and my cats was outrageous.  For a long time, though, because I regularly practiced pranayama and meditated, I stayed very calm about it all.  Eventually I realized that the calm was masking fury — and a myriad of ways in which her behavior mimicked the way my toughest family member treated me.

It’s a very fine line.  And of course bringing yourself back to calm so you don’t say, throw your obnoxious roommate off the four-story balcony of your apartment (yes I did really, really want to…) is probably a good thing.  When I finally confronted her, I did it without yelling and negotiated the deal I wanted to get out of there and I’m sure all that meditating and breathing practice helped me do that.  But resolution arrived much later than it would have if I had been more tuned in to my emotional landscape instead of just feeling relieved at the aura of calm that surrounded me.

Had I not been digging deep at the time in the Fischer Hoffman work, I have a notion that that layer of serenity would have buried the real turmoil indefinitely. Later,  I met a lot of folks who followed various Buddhist and Indian teachers and gurus and I became adept at sensing the carefully constructed outer layer of serenity and the ignored turmoil underneath that many people had (by no means all).  As I talked with lots of them I realized that for many the calming nature of practices became a balm they craved; but they used it to hide from issues instead of to illuminate them and let them go.

I’m glad I’ve had this little reminder that I need to practice regularly but without using it to ignore feelings I’d prefer to avoid.

Tonight’s Peace Time: Ceremony Repeat

Many of you know that I created a ceremony in September to break the spell of an ancestor.  I felt it was powerful and definitely moved a lot of energy–I could especially tell because the bound up muscles in my head that were held by her spell began unwinding at quite a pace.  The unwinding kept going for quite a while but recently slowed down.

I can’t always get an absolute sense of whether something like that has “worked” or not — maybe in part because of the block to my “seeing” that the ancestor created….  I felt guided shortly after the ceremony to info about the “ego eradicator” and took on the challenge to practice it for 40 days.  Again I’ve felt powerful energy and my energy has been stronger than in a long time.  I’ve also shaken off some cobwebs and started moving forward with various projects that have been in limbo in recent months.

But as I’ve approached the last day of ego busting tomorrow, I’ve noted that the unwinding in my head has stalled somewhere short of finished.  The blocks in first and third chakras seem to have opened quite nicely but my head — and sixth — seem to be partially stuck.  I know sometimes you can release an issue and it takes a while for muscles to catch up but somehow I felt that the ancestor’s grip, while loosened incredibly, still held to some degree in my head.

So tonight I did the ceremony again.  I started out just wanting to do ceremony and thinking I’d do all the parts except the little bit that relates specifically to the ancestor.  Last minute I decided that it wouldn’t hurt to do it all since I’ve been hazy as to whether the first one completely took care of it.  Like I said my ability to sense this kind of thing is sketchy…  The progress of the unwinding muscles has been my touchstone.

Since my ceremony starts with the lovingkindness chant and since all of this is, I feel, key to removing blocks to being peace, I chose tonight to do it as my offering to Collective Prayer Sundays.  Again no magic moment in which I felt certain that she’s gone and my world is now transformed.  But wow the energy was powerful.  And the few muscles that are still twisted are seriously in unwinding mode.  Plus I love a powerful ceremony!  How was your time of chanting or praying for peace?

Consciousness streaming hither and yon

http://www.laurierohner.com/woodland-wildflowers-botanical-flower-watercolor-nature-art.html

Woodland Wildflowers by Laurie Rohner

Lots of thoughts keep dancing through my head for posts and most feel pithy so I’m just going to throw out some random thoughts.

I’m very excited that Laurie Rohner (blog here and studio site here) has graciously allowed me to use pictures from her gallery to accompany blog posts.  I love her work so it’s going to make me so happy to see these on the top of some of my posts.  Today’s picture is available here.

I took last night completely off from all social media activities and wow it felt good.  Between Twitter and keeping up with reading everyone else’s blogs I’m putting in a huge portion of every day on just keeping up.  I’m looking at how many posts have gone up on the reader since I read some early yesterday and my shoulders are drooping–at least metaphorically.  I have to admit that I’m becoming more and more cursory.  There’s one group of blogs I adore and look forward to seeing every day.  Another group that I sometimes enjoy.  A whole bunch more that rarely thrill me and/or post too many times a day.  I used to try to read them all regardless of which of those categories they fell in but more and more I’m skipping stuff or just looking at the picture in the reader.  Anyone else get overwhelmed by how much of this stuff there is?

You may recall that I mentioned last Sunday that I tried the Gayatri Mantra in place of the Lovingkindness Chant and had mixed feelings.  Last night I sang the Gayatri first and then spoke the Lovingkindness Chant for Mother Earth and that felt lovely.  The singing kind of opened up the heart space so the energy of lovingkindness just flowed.

This afternoon I just completed my second look at Relating Heart to Heart:  A Guide to Playing Well with Others, the little e-book(let) I’ve been working on.  As well as proofing/editing, I added all the front pages and the appendix.  Have a tiny bit of format stuff to do for Kindle.  Mulling whether I should add one short section that’s been on my mind.  Wednesday I have lunch with a writing friend who’s got the first draft and is going to comment.  Exciting to be so close!

The appendix I worked on involved abbreviated lists of admonitions that we used in Fischer-Hoffman process.  I used them extensively in the process and then periodically for some years after I would process some more of them.  I kind of dropped doing the process about 10 years ago.  But as I looked at the list I realized that I had so many big-ticket items on my voluminous list in the first rounds of processing that there were a lot of lesser issues I never got around to.  I could see a bunch of stuff in the list that could stand to be addressed.  Sigh…  I guess I’m going to be doing the Process again.  [BTW I went through with the late Ellen Margron who, after 25 years of facilitating F-H, had developed her own version, so not the quadrinity process.]

I’m down to a week left of my 40 days of ego busting and I must admit I’m beginning to drag my feet.  Not that I don’t love it, I seriously do.  Just the burden of feeling it has to happen every single day is getting to me.  I’ll probably keep doing it when the 40 days are over.  And it might even be every day — but it won’t be required.  I have issues about having stuff that has to be done every day…

 

Chant 10 minutes for peace — open for comment

By THD3 on Wikiimedia Commons

Under the weather today so I’m just going to declare the post open for comment.  Click on the Collective Prayer Sundays tab at the top of the page if you want more info about praying or chanting or meditating for peace every Sunday.

Seven days of eradicating ego

I finished my first week of the ego eradicator with mindfulness meditation and Om Gum Ganapatayei Namaha (see previous post). It feels great every time I do it.  It builds a big energy and the flow continues for me long after.

Any change it’s creating is very subtle I’d say.  And since I’m always doing more than one practice at a time and more than one practice over time most change for me arises as an effect of cumulative efforts.

I mentioned that the night I did my ceremony to break an ancestral spell I felt pain shoot through the two locked areas in my head — tentorium and

Wikipedia

falx — and the remaining locked muscles in my face began unwinding. That has continued.  The core tight pieces that, up to now, have been yanked around by other pieces unwinding but have not themselves let go have been opening at quite a pace.  I would say that the pace has picked up considerably since I began to do the ego eradicator.

I would also say that I’ve been feeling somewhat more inner strength and increased mental fortitude.  That’s something that’s been building with some other practices I’ve been doing for a while but the change is more noticeable in the last week.  When the unwinding muscles are letting me sleep only every couple of days it’s a little tough to decide how much stronger or more assertive I feel as fatigue tends to dull everything.   My vision has also improved.

I love this practice and I may be doing it beyond the 40 days.  But I want to be clear that it is not a magic bullet.  There has been no sudden miraculous shift nor have I suddenly been successful at some task nor magnetized some great circumstance.  There are lots of testimonials that make this sound like something that will transform your life after the first three minutes.  I’ve been at this long enough that I entered this challenge without assuming that my life would radically change.

But I do find the practice powerful and I can feel its impact on a spiritual level.  I find over time all spiritual practices slowly transform me but for me the change has usually been more inner than outer.  I’ve known lots of people for whom those inner changes have soon translated to big outer changes but that has not been true for me.  I have faith that the practices are doing whatever I need and that my higher self has the best plan. Sometimes that faith is the only impetus to practice, so don’t feel discouraged if the only change you feel from any practice is subtle.

Let there be peace–Monthly Peace Challenge

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Peace_on_earth.jpg

Land art sculpture by Hein Waschefort, Maluti Mountains near Swaziland. Wikimedia

Since I began participating in Kozo’s Monthly Peace Challenge I’ve posted early in the month.  This time I had to sit with it.  The challenge is to post a quote that can bring peace to the world.  The big challenge in that for me came from my belief that words don’t change anything.  So I’m skeptical that there is a quote that can bring peace.

I think peace depends upon each of us.  When the great oneness that’s All That Is reaches a critical mass with enough people who have learned to live with peace in their hearts then the world will turn to peace.

At the same time, I do believe that affirmations, when combined with clearing and practice and mindfully holding a feeling tone of peace, lovingkindness and compassion, play a part in finding that space within.  So I gave a lot of thought to what quote I would favor.

There are a lot of great quotes about peace but I think my favorite would be the lyrics to the song we always sang at the end of Unity services, “Let There Be Peace on Earth”.  My favorite line in the song is “Let peace begin with me.”  Click here for full lyrics.  A minister who was before my time at Unity of Lexington changed the lyrics a bit and I stick to his version:

“Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.  Let there be peace on earth, the peace that was meant to be.  With God as creator, family all are we.  Let me walk with my family in perfect harmony. Let peace begin with me, let this be the moment now.  With every breath I take, let this be my solemn vow:  to take each moment and live each moment in peace eternally.  Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.”

A lot of the power of that song came from feeling the heart space in the room every time.  In my church.  In another church full of people I don’t know.  Wherever people gather, hold hands and sing it joyously peace feels possible.

I’m listing a few of the great posts that were made in response to this challenge but there are so many I encourage you to go to the link page to read them all.

http://grandmalin.wordpress.com/2013/09/05/september-post-for-peace/

http://carbonatedgrace.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/a-kind-word-heals/

http://www.kellykuhn.com/2013/09/breathing-in-peace/

http://motherwifestudentworker.wordpress.com/2013/09/02/september-peace-post/

http://www.ulawyss.com/bloggers4peace-quote-this/

http://amaltaas.wordpress.com/2013/09/02/monthly-peace-challenge-quote-this/

http://fecthis.wordpress.com/2013/09/03/bloggers-for-peace-monthly-peace-challenge-quote-this/

Chant for your enemies challenge

Peaceful Salty

The next challenge for Collective Prayer Sundays is about finding peace with someone you don’t like or whom you consider your enemy or with whom you have ongoing issues–for this one please pick someone you actually know.  I’m going to give you another long time frame for this one so you have plenty of time to get it in.

Between now and midnight on Sept. 15, 2013 chant for seven days in a row for a person you don’t like (the same person every day) for 30 minutes.  So it will be “May _____ (fill in the monstrous a**hole name of choice) be filled with lovingkindness, may he/she be well, may he/she be peaceful and at ease, may he/she be happy.”  Or say the prayer or chant of your choice and fill in that person.

Try to work out a time within this month when you can do seven days in a row.  If you have to skip a day and keep going that’s fine, but try not to scatter the days too badly as it’s the cumulative effect of doing it regularly that you’re aiming to feel.  If you can’t do 30 minutes but you can do 15, do the shorter amount but if you want to really feel it deeply, I recommend the longer time.

As always, please come back and comment on the posts I’ll set up each Sunday or on the Collective Prayer Sundays page or go to the Facebook page and start a discussion there.  If you have lots to say, write a post about it and tag it CollPraySun and put a link to the Collective Prayer Sundays page so I can pick it up in a pingback.  If you want to message me privately there’s a form on the CPS page and also an e-mail address.

If you haven’t taken any of the other challenges yet but want to try some experiments put “challenge” in the search box to the right and get a list of the posts that have contained challenges.  There will be a page one of these days that lists all the challenges.  They’re all just designed to help you gain greater awareness of nuances in the chanting and how different ones feel so the timing doesn’t really matter.  Take a challenge when you’re ready and I’ll always be happy to “chat” with you about it.

Sweet looking Salty up there has enemies around the neighborhood and he’s pretty rough on the wild life around here.  But I can’t get him to go for the chanting…    or the peace…  Wouldn’t know it to look at him there would you?

Worthiness–Less and More

Salty Being Peace

Salty Being Peace

Note:  my comment on yesterday’s Prayer for Peace is on the Facebook page.

A few days ago a post on Brenda’s Blog left me spinning and thinking and wow-ing.  She wrote that if you’re not healthy or struggling for money then you’re not feeling worthy — worth-less.  Since I’ve been dealing with my health for 25+ years and through much of that time I’ve hovered on the brink of financial disaster, it struck a chord.

I realized some time ago that the ongoing health issues are tied to the financial issues –in more than the obvious way that I can’t work regular hours.  But the notion that both conditions reflect a state of feeling worth-less isn’t quite a way I’d looked at it.  Not that I haven’t hit issues about self-worth and worked on them in this many years of searching but I didn’t realize that something that deep around those issues still held on.

I’ve been walking around thinking and whispering, “I’m worth MORE” ever since.  It’s been another example for me of the many ways this condition of twisted up muscles creating body armor has not only affected everything but also has symbolized some key aspects of my being and issues.  In the post she spoke of keeping ourselves small.  A goose bumps moment for me because years ago my very talented and perceptive acupuncturist commented as he put the needles in, “It’s okay for you to be big.  You don’t have to make yourself small any more.”*

Mentally since that day I have worked on that and affirmed myself as big.  But my feeling is that as long as my body has been holding a tight, SMALL core that’s been impacting my ability to actually be big.  I’ve written many posts about this long healing journey [in the search box on the right put in healing journey Monday if you’re interested].  And I’ve written about how it sometimes takes a while.

In spite of all that work and digging through my psyche, the self-worth issues seem to be present still.  It will take some digging to figure out the source though I think some strong “don’t be” messages have permeated many areas of my life and although I’ve examined that issue I don’t think I’ve found every place where it affects me.  I’m so grateful to Brenda for the post that helped me see this.

Sometimes the process of figuring these things out takes a long time and has many stages.  The first time I accidentally hit publish on this post it had a different ending about a “Slow Movement”.  I’ll be posting that one next.

* If you’re lucky enough to be in the SF area you can check him out in Mill Valley:  Raymond Himmel.  He also has a blog.

Chanting Mindfully for Peace

Meditation in Rocca di Cerrare by Dedda 71. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pagan_meditation2.jpg

Peaceful Meditation

This week’s challenge was to practice mindfulness while chanting or praying — to keep your focus only on the words of the chant or prayer or vision and to notice what intruded.

I didn’t manage to do a separate chant ahead of time so I combined tonight’s practice with the mindfulness practice.  I actually always try to stay mindful when I chant so I really just added trying to simultaneously stay mindful and yet notice what crossed my mind.  I wasn’t very mindful tonight.

I was interested to see that the thoughts that arose related to launching this prayer effort.  I’ve been really excited because being a part of moving toward peace has been very important to me for a long time.  Yet I don’t have the feeling so far that very many others are excited, so at first my thoughts jumped to feeling that this has failed (even though I know that it takes time to launch something like this and I have a lot of work still to do about getting the word out).

I pulled my thoughts back to the chant and then they wandered to the point, six or seven years back, when a dear friend–with excellent skills at using right listening to guide her friends deeper into their own hearts–led me to create a workshop I called Journey to Peace along with realizing that I seriously want to be assisting the world toward peace.  I haven’t taught the workshop in a while and I thought I should dust it off and bring it out again.

I don’t feel there’s a deep analysis to do about these thoughts as they swirled around the launching of this project and why I started; doesn’t seem too surprising given what and why I was chanting.  Sometimes I do note deeper issues like some part of me that wants to distract me from the possibility of being peaceful, at ease and happy…. but not tonight.

The last few minutes I managed to successfully use my trick of watching the words float across my inner visual “screen” to stay focused only on the chant.  That, of course, was when I finally dropped into a deeper and more peaceful space.

Tell me about your experience with the challenge.  Or just how it feels to participate in meditating.