March 23, 2012


After a busy academic term, it's interesting to see what comes in the mail. The Amazon-box contents are often an indicator of what I crave. Sometimes I crave peace & meditation; sometimes nourishing, homemade food; sometimes creative projects; sometimes new plants & flowers. Sometimes everything! But I often place an order at Amazon during the 10th week of the term--desperately awaiting a mini-break where I might have space to meditate, cook, plant, and create.
But it's not the books I really need. It's the space and time to practice what's in the books. What I really need: to make myself a priority; to do soul-filling activities; or to just be. The books can't do any of this for me. 

At a meditation retreat, teachers often tell stories about the ways in which our active mind captures us during a meditation sit. One example is this: "Oh, I'm so glad I'm at this meditation retreat. I really want to make more time to meditate. Maybe I can plan my next retreat..." This is an example of craving the very thing that's happening. That is, sitting in meditation while craving more meditation. It's just another mechanism for ego to take over the process. Our minds are so very interesting.

So this spring break I got some lovely new books in the mail. But, more importantly, I made space to meditate, create homemade cards, take photos, cook food, and plant some lilac cuttings. It's the self-nurture I really craved. What a nice reminder that what I wanted was really always here. Just like Dorothy's ruby slippers--at any point they could have taken her home. Or in the words of meditation teacher Thich Nhat Hanh: "Peace is present right here and now, in ourselves and in everything we do and see. Every breath we take, every step we take, can be filled with peace, joy, and serenity. The question is whether or not we are in touch with it. We need only to be awake, alive in the present moment."

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