Thursday, June 5, 2014

Mindful Living and Acceptance

My difficulty with meditation unsurprisingly lies in my mind. I place myself in a peaceful setting alongside a gently burbling brook. I look for shades of green and concentrate on the light revealing multiple hues in a single blade of grass.

Try as I might to leave regrets outside my meditative state, they camouflage themselves until I accept them as part of the scenery. They then explode from the shrubbery repeating the mantra I have heard in my head for years. “How could you not have known! Look at the trouble you caused!”

Unpleasantness in my life appears to lurk around the edges, discouraging attempts at quiet meditation. Its potential presence chases me away from meditative moments when I might reach acceptance. Busyness is easier to handle but makes mindful living more difficult. Running from a quiet space, I suppose there are people who live without regrets and I should be one of them. Silly.

Memory is never 100 percent accurate. Other people bear responsibility for their reactions in the remembered situations that year after year give me fits. I am egotistical when I take absolute responsibility for all outcomes of my choices. Circumstance has never been in my control. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson didn’t own a tape recorder or cd player so he couldn’t encourage us to erase the tape and cultivate good thoughts. He did write: "Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense."

When waking in the morning, lying in bed and deliberately getting reacquainted with each body part prepares me to live in the space allotted me. Deliberately greeting the morning with a few minutes of quiet, picturing people I know and their needs during this day, stretches me out of myself and into the community I value.

I would be better off if I daily read the following prayer (taped to my bookcase for so long it appears an unnoticed fixture). As an entree to mindful living, it admits my imperfections and releases me from busying so hard I fail to find self acceptance.

O, that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my territory,
that Your hand would be with me,
and that You would keep me from committing evil.



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