Breathing Lessons


 

I really like Whole Living magazine.  In this month’s issue, Amy Gross has a nice article — “Breathing Lessons” — on the why and how of practicing mindfulness meditation.  An excerpt:

The disasters we imagine in our future torture us more than reality ever can.  As Eckhart Tolle teaches, “Right now I’m OK.”  The more fully you inhabit now, the more OK you are.  Now is home base, the best spa, the best medicine.  Meditation is training in getting to now.

What makes it powerful is what makes it hard: you’re dismantling two of the oldest reflexes in the world.  The first is: Running away from pain. We spend our lives clamping off negative reactions.  Meditation invites these reactions to the surface, where they  can get the attention they’ve wanted from you all these years, and ultimately dissolve.  You see you’re not destroyed.  ”Acceptance is the key,”  Joseph [Goldstein] says.  ”Resistance locks in the feeling.”

The second reflex is: Clinging to the pleasant. We want what we want when we want it; when we get it, we hold on tight.  That’s as futile as trying to hold on to a rushing river.  Meditation offers infinite opportunities to open our grip.  We see that we don’t lose anything by letting go — we’ve just quit an exercise in futility.  Peace, according to the Buddha, is the greatest happiness.  And isn’t that what you said you wanted? 

 

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