the mercer weave

Think. Don't Think. Breathe. Write. Roam.

Archive for the tag “quiet”

New Year, New Challenge 2014

I was gently (or not so gently) reminded this afternoon why meditation needs to be a more consistent element in my life. As I sat on my cushion, I decided to jumpstart my practice by listening to Sharon’s CD from her first book, Real Happiness. I settled in, closed my eyes and grounded myself on my cushion. I listened intently, feeling like an old friend was giving me private breathing lessons. Then…

A text message came in from one of my co-workers notifying me that an arrest had been made on a case we had worked all week. I’m ashamed to say, I looked at the text and of course, was pretty distracted.

I settled back in.

Then the Fur Mob came screaming downstairs, doing a Nascar worthy lap around me that culminated in an extended play date in my lap and on my cushion.

I kept coming back to the breath, recognizing that I will not always be lucky enough to sit in silence, that interruptions, while annoying, are often there to strengthen the practice.

The Fur Mob

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Love, War and Spring

Love:

Birds at 4:30 in the morning.

The sun sneaking up over the horizon before my eyes open.

Trees putting on their Sunday best.

New growth struggling up through the still stiff soil.

Raindrops just a tad warmer but drops nonetheless.

The promise of sun.

War:

Pollen. Damnable pollen.

Sounding like Kermit the Frog.

Kind of looking like Kermit the Frog.

 

Happy for a Reason

I’ve been pondering the whole idea of working with difficult emotions over the last couple of days. I guess I’m a little behind the curve with the book but that’s how I roll…

I am one of those people who have always managed to distract myself from difficult feelings and emotions. Not that I don’t acknowledge them – I just don’t dwell on them.  And I think that’s a good thing to a certain extent except if the ‘not dwelling’ part is really more about trying to ignore them. That’s not so good.

I’ve been trying to practice just being with feelings and not working hard to replace that sensation with something that feels good. Every now and then (and thankfully it really is very rare that I feel this way), I will just wake up on the wrong side of the bed. It’s like I should know why I’m pissed off but I don’t even know what I’m angry about. And nothing makes me madder than not knowing why I’m mad.

I used to spend a lot of time pushing the nagging feeling away, trying to think of something that made me feel better.  Now, I try to stay with the emotion, roll around in it and not fight it. It’s not as fun as being ‘happy’ all of the time, but I’ve developed the mantra “resistance it futile” and it seems to be working for me.

Happy is great. Happy for a reason is even better.

 

Taking A Moment

There is a story in Sharon Salzberg’s book Real Happiness about children learning about the importance about ‘taking a moment’ before acting on difficult emotions. How wonderful would it be if this became a part of the curriculum in every school in this nation. It seems we value ‘quick thinking and action’ and we celebrate people who can counter criticism deftly with a witty comeback. But we rarely celebrate the person who can turn away and deflect harsh words with kindness. And teaching children how to know the difference “suggests the possibility of finding the gap between a trigger event and our usual conditioned response to it, and of using that pause to collect ourselves and change our response.” *

In my line of work, I see the results of ‘not taking a moment’ all of the time. It can be as (relatively) benign as someone flipping the bird to another driver on the freeway or as  horrible as the violence of a homicide. And in almost all of those situations, the moment was there to be taken but the opportunity was lost.

We only have a limited amount of time on this earth but we have a limitless ability to pause. I think that’s what we are learning here.

*Sharon Salzberg Real Happiness pg 107

 

 

Turbo the Wonder Cat…Pausing

Peace and Quiet

I made the mistake of watching TV this past weekend. I generally watch too much television but I think it’s mostly as an element of distraction. I often read while it’s on or I sometimes write. But this weekend, after the death of Whitney Houston, I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by the fact that no matter what I put on (except for some cable movie station) there were sad-faced reporters relaying a series of speculations about the singer’s death. It got me to thinking about our obsession with popular culture and I suppose, about my own.  These people we elevate to such heights of perfection have nowhere to go but down. And then we engage in a collective tongue clucking over their downfall.

It seems as though we as a country spend so much time seeking things to distract us.  We have a twenty-four hour news cycle, restaurants that never close and an entertainment media complex that churns out drivel by the boat load. There is never a moment when I cannot get access to the latest news whether it’s on the TV, my phone or a computer. Helicopters flying overhead? Jump on the iPhone. Someone famous dies? Turn on the TV and you can be guaranteed to find non-stop coverage. And if the circumstances of that person’s death are ‘mysterious’, expect to hear from experts who appear to have been dragged from some ‘expert warehouse’ and propped in front of a camera. And many of us take what these people say at face value and repeat it to our friends or via social media as though it is fact. It is relentless.

Sitting in silence at the beginning of my day has given me tremendous gratitude for the moments in my busy life when there is nothing turned on or turned up and competing for my attention. And even then, it’s so hard to concentrate on, well, nothing. Because even that nothingness can have an infinite amount of junk attached to it.

It’s all about finding a place for peace and quiet. I don’t hear people saying that very often anymore.

I just want some peace and quiet.

 It’s a lot harder to come by these days.

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