Every Moment a New Beginning
Reflecting on some recent personal difficulties I wrote a short piece this morning on: ‘Every Moment a New Beginning’ on my new Well for Life Facebook page. This is what I wrote:
Breath Practice in Meditation allows us to cultivate things that are so relevant for a good life. Breath practice focusses concentration, allows us to become still rather than reactive, soothes (or activates)the Nervous System and shows us that every moment is a new beginning, every moment is an opportunity to come back, steady oneself, reconnect, make new choices. ulties arose in my life, I found myself down the path of thinking, thinking, thinking and intense difficult emotions all the while making things worse, both within and without. Slowly I remembered….to pause, to breathe, to soften and ‘that every moment is a new beginning’ At times it’s a bit like turning the Titanic but ahh, how glad to have another place to stand with difficulties.A while ago when unexpected difficulties arose in my life, I found myself down the path of thinking, thinking, thinking and intense difficult emotions all the while making things worse, both within and without. Slowly I remembered….to pause, to breathe, to soften and ‘that every moment is a new beginning’ At times it’s a bit like turning the Titanic but ahh, how glad to have another place to stand with difficulties.
As I thought about this more it occurred to me how profound this really is. In meditation, as anyone who has ever attempted meditation knows only too well, thoughts keep pushing their way into awareness, we get caught up in endless thoughtstreams, time and time again. Cultivating a meditation practice is cultivating the ability to bring attention back to a point of focus, most often the breath. A thousand times and a thousand times more we need to guide our attention back. This can be done with force, anger, frustration or it can be done with kindness and patient commitment to our practice. With time, the mind settles, thoughts are not as enticing and inner peace has room to grow.This poem illustrates the process beautifully:
My mind is a dog Annie Bisset
My mind is a dog
romping around the bedroom as I awaken,
pulling at the covers,
anxious to leave the morning,
sniffing for traces of creatures
who roam backyards at night.
My mind is a dog
straining against the leash,
wanting always more –
always more walks, more toys,
more food, wanting always
a wider territory
on which to leave her mark.
My mind is a dog
who will not let go of that stick,
who growls and postures as if her very life depends
on keeping that piece of wood
between her teeth, forgotten already
the sweetness of the chase.
My mind is this dog
craving to rest at last,
dropping down to her special place
at her master’s feet
What a great practicing ground for working with difficulties in life. When getting swept up in a difficulty within ourselves or with another person we can remember to pause, take time to connect with our breath to steady our focus and soften into some compassion for ourselves. New possibilities for a more pleasant, peaceful and self-supporting way of being might become available. The more we practice, on and off the meditation cushion, the more we may reach for this possibility.