In my journey through life and spirituality, I joined a Vipassanā meditation group. It’s all about the breathing.(More)
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Just reading the political headlines has some inner voice of wisdom reminding me to “Breathe. Breathe deeply.” Torn between laughing and crying I have found myself breathing deeply as an antidote to the news.
I joined a meditation group on the advice of a coworker. This was an eclectic group. There was a physics professor, a chef, a couple of MD’s, a commodities trader, a couple of university students, a psychiatrist, some engineers, a landscape architect/gardener and me. Shortly after I joined there was a weekend retreat with a Buddhist monk. This monk had a PhD in Asian Studies from the University of Wisconsin. He was an American who had lived in the East for years.
We did sitting and walking meditations with some guidance but mainly silence for 18 hours a day with breaks for meals. Even as an introvert, the silence took its toll on me. I remember getting the uncontrollable giggles looking at the purple translucent noodles another participant had brought as lunch. Of course, there was nothing funny about the noodles per se. It was my nervous tension escaping.
Each of us met individually with the monk for an hour where we could talk with him about how it was going. He picked the time. When my turn came I said, “I am so struggling with this. I was expecting to be able to shut off my mind and it is not listening to me and I am having trouble ignoring it.” He smiled and walked me through a process of visualizing my breathe as a symbol. I picked infinity. As his voice calmly spoke, I could focus on the cycles of my breath. For a brief moment the monkey mind (all that chatter that runs rampant) just disappeared. I stayed with the peace for a while and opened my eyes and said, “Oh wow. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Can I do this again? Can I do this at will if I practice?”
His advice stayed with me. “All is transitory. If emotions start to overwhelm you, breathe. If your monkey mind is working overtime, breathe. Acknowledge each emotion or each thought and release them with your breath. Eventually another emotion or a new thought will take its place. And with practice you will find peace. You can do this with diligent practice.”
I have been practicing for 35 years. I will say that even the headlines from the Republicans have me sitting and breathing a lot lately. I am also committed to doing my part to ensure the transitory nature of the craziness that is today’s Republicans. I will work my ass off to make sure that they never have a majority ever again. I will breathe deeply and work hard to restore liberalism and progressive policies and a Democratic majority. Breathing deeply and activism are a great combination.
I will say that it is a toss up between the purple translucent noodles and fetuses masturbating for today’s giggles. “All is transitory” means this too shall pass. The sooner the better for today’s GOP.