Saturday, March 5, 2011

Mindfulness, Commitment and Presence

So, my presence on this blog has certainly been scant, hasn't it? Which is causing me to reevaluate my level of commitment.  Obviously it hasn't been so high, as I have not been posting once-weekly, as promised.  And so, to bring some more structure to my often-procrastinating ways--according to which it's so easy to say, "I'll just do it tomorrow", and so a month goes by!--I will clarifying that I would really like to see an average of four to five blogs/months from myself.  Feel free, dear reader, to shoot me an e-mail, if I'm not keeping up as promised. ;-)

In other realms, though, I feel like I have been much more present in the last month--particularly in the realms of organized social groups.  In the last month, I have been "out and about" far more nights than not--in fact, probably about 90-5% of all nights: at my Tuesday meditation classes (one has ended and another has begun), at Greg's Wednesday reiki shares, at my Thursday Biodanza class, attending Friday night dinner group, attending a drum circle and a concert, performing at open mics, etc.  (Phew!) Tonight, I have another gig, in which I'll be performing solo (voice/piano) at fellow Shambhalian Virginia Crawford's poetry book release party.  It will be my second solo performance for 2011 (not counting a handful of open mics), and a number of people have promised to come, so that's exciting.  I would probably be completely exhausted by this schedule if it weren't for the several hours each day (in the morning/early afternoon) that I generally have all to myself.  That is very helpful, an anchor.

Another anchor for me is meditation, and I have remained committed to that over the last month, meditating most days one to two times (short sessions, averaging maybe 10 minutes).  As I have generally waffled alot in my meditation practice, I am excited to have found this desire to recommit within myself.  (Admittedly, attending the "Meditation in Everyday Life" class did help to bring this desire/willingness to commit to the forefront.  But I have kept up with it!)

I do find that meditation is much more of a process of "joyful settling", these days, in which I give myself the space to touch the deep inner silence within myself.  It is so easy to get caught up in scattered thinking--in distractions, and entertainment, and lists of things to do--and meditation is a break from all of that, a chance to settle into the stillness and peace that is always there.  Today, I've begun reading a book by Sally Kempton that just arrived in the mail from yesterday.  It's entitled Meditation for the Love of It: Enjoying Your Own Deepest Experience by Sally Kempton, and though I've read only about 15 pages thus far, I think the title says alot.  "Yes!", I agree, meditation is not about some kind of punishment (trying to make those naughty thoughts be still) or about some kind of "fixing anything"; it is about settling deeply into the joy and stillness of the inner self.  This is what I feel right now, and why I feel like my own re-commitment to meditation is not just one of my phases of self-discipline/self-improvement, but an actually honoring of, and contacting, my own deep inner wisdom.  Time shall tell, but this is where I'm at, and what I believe so deeply, right now.

Reiki has been another beautiful anchor in my life, and, though I have not been giving a lot of full-on table treatments lately, I have been enjoying the Wednesday night reiki shares.  I also have been incorporating reiki into my own practice of prayer and meditation, as well as offering "spot treatments" to friends and family who might be ailing.  In the past several weeks, I have taken my reiki practice to "the next level", by becoming attuned and initiated as a Reiki Master practitioner.  I definitely have felt a shift in my own energetic presence--both generally and during meditation/healing practices--in the last few weeks since my attunement.  But I also feel like there is a quality of inquiry emerging, asking: What does it really mean to be a Reiki Master? To some extent, I think the answer to this question is a "work in progress", not something to be solved in a single sitting.  But, I do suspect, especially as someone who has studied/practiced Buddhism in depth for the last 7 years--that being a Reiki Master goes beyond just being a "master healer".  I believe it extends to, in some ways, to a fundamental commitment: a commitment to the complete and total healing of the self (mind, body and spirit) and of all other beings.  At some level, then, being a Reiki practitioner is essentially a Bodhisattva activity, and being attuned to the Master level is akin to taking a Bodhisattva vow.  (Ironically, I have not actually taken a Buddhist Bodhisattva vow, for reasons that I won't get into right now.)

So, it appears that there are different levels of presence that one can engage in.  One is the physical level of presence, of simply "showing up"--as I have been doing moreso in the social/musical world lately and have not be doing in the "world of my blog".  Another level of presence is the level of deep, energetic embodiment--and this is the type of presence that my meditation and reiki practice support.  (I have been engaging in other practices, including "Waking Down in Mutuality" and "Biodanza" that support this level of energetic embodiment on an interpersonal level--but more about these another time.) I know that both are important, ultimately, and that they coexist.  In other words, you have to "show up" in the world first before you can embody presence within it.  But conversely, you need to cultivate stillness within yourself (through deep energetic practices such as prayer, yoga, meditation, energy healing, etc.) before you can be truly effective and satisfied in the external world.  It is a dance. I have very much been exploring this dance in my own life.

This is, perhaps, an inadequate summary of what has been going on in the last month for me, but it is a taste, at least: a taste of what I have been doing physically, and of what has been on my mind/heart.  You will hear more from me soon--sooner than a month from now, I promise! In the meantime . . .


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