E,  Happiness,  Self care

Sitting,Being, Doing… and Becoming

my garden buddha

Many of us think of Buddhism and other meditative approaches to life as very passive. Sitting. However, I as I learn more about the topic, I’m struck by the discipline involved with learning to meditate and making it a regular part of their lives. Meditation seems to be like so many other things that are good for us; the gap between ‘knowing’ and ‘doing’ can be enormous. How do we make space to close the gap?

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“The thing about meditation is…you become more and more you.” ~David Lynch

Running shoe commercials that urge us to ‘just do it’ have nothing on people who sit, motionless and silent, for a set period every single day. I like the contrast between urgency and committed action.  I suspect that the ad budget in question is aimed at those of us who struggle with our commitment to exercise and not the spectacular athletes featured in the media. Do you ever wonder about their journey? What did it take to become who and what they are? I often wonder about both their physical and mental training and how the two fit together.

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“Quiet the mind, and the soul will speak.”Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati 

heart with wings

As different as they may seem on the surface Buddhism and “success psychology” share a lot.  Take these words from noted Buddhist teacher John Daido Loori:

The only limits that exist are the ones we set for ourselves. Take off the blinders, release the chain, push down the walls of the cage and advance a step forward. When you’ve taken that step, acknowledge it, let it go, and advance another step. And when you finally arrive at enlightenment, acknowledge it, let it go and take a step forward.”

If I’d given you that quote without background would you think it belonged to one of our country’s great Buddhist teachers?  Or would you attribute it to your favorite motivational speaker or writer?

So often personal aspirations and goal-setting focus on the things we need to do. But perhaps it is the journey that matters most. Maybe there’s more real transformation from changes that help us  “become” rather than the ones that we “do.”

I’d love to hear about your meditation experience or something you do that has helped you “become more you.” (Just click the comments link below to join the conversation.)

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  • Lisa Hutchison

    “Quiet the mind, and the soul will speak.”Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati -I love this. I regularly meditate to connect within and to Spirit. This blog remind me of how a cat’s brain is more active when he seems to zone out than when he is actively playing. I believe the same is true for us humans. Great blog Andrea!

  • CK Kochis

    Floating in my kayak on one of my favorite lakes and watching the sun rise in the eastern sky. Or, hiking the wooded trails. Or, riding one of my bicycles and feeling the wind on my face.

    Being in nature is my meditation.

  • Rachel Kieffer

    I have been meditating on and off, sometimes I find it easier and at other times really hard to do. What works better for me is to do meditative activities like painting, crocheting and I find that even walking and cleaning can be meditative if I become more present.

  • laurie303

    Meditation is central to my life and to the work that I do in the world. I so appreciate your going beyond the assumptions about meditation and passivity. It is so important! Meditation is active: the essence is about receiving who you are. it leads to inspired and aligned action. It doesn’t need to have a connection to Buddhism, or to any religion. It does take commitment…to your own journey. I loved this post, Andrea!

  • Jenny Mannion

    Love this and there are so many different ways to meditate that have helped me tap more into myself and the world around me. One of my favorite and simplest is to be outside and shut my eyes and notice the sounds around me. The first time I did this I was totally amazed at how much goes on that we are not aware of. This brings me peace but also a deeper connection to everything going on around me, the wind, the birds, the cars in the distance, the voices and laughter… it is a beautiful way to “be” and connect and I always end feeling so much more at peace. Thank you for this beautiful post. <3

  • barbparcellswritingalife

    I rediscovered meditation a few years ago with the help and teachings of meditation teacher Davidj and have been meditating at least once a day for at least 10 minutes and as long as 30 every day since then. Recently, I’ve been doing some in-depth self-study by reading Lama Surya Das (Awakening the Buddha Within is a perfect book for East meets Western mind), and Stephen Cope’s The Wisdom of Yoga. I find a real connection between connecting to our true self in meditation and also in writing.

  • Nicole Kellermann-Wettemann

    I have meditated on and off since College and started back up with a regular practice five years ago. I know for me it has changed my world. It has reconnected me to my divine essence and has changed every interaction I have…be it with myself, others, animal and plant life.

  • Kelley

    I have meditated and practiced yoga for years and am so grateful for the space it has helped me cultivate around and within me. My practice has allowed me to come home to myself and learn the value of just being rather than always doing. As a result my doing has more intention and impact. Meditating daily allows me to listen to myself and take inspired action. Whenever there is a pause in my day or I am waiting in line or for my computer, I reconnect with my breath and breathe in and out intentionally, which reconnects me to the present moment and supports me in paying attention on purpose. Mindfulness is the foundation of my self-nurturing practice and I am so grateful!

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