Why Am I Doing This?
Last summer Community Mindfulness Project offered early morning meditation sessions in a small park right in the heart of downtown New Canaan. The favorite practice for the group that gathered every Thursday morning was walking meditation. The park creators had laid down a patch of fake grass to make a badminton court. It turns out that fake grass offers a lot of sensory feedback when you walk barefoot on it. So, as the town came to life around us, we would walk v-e-r-y slowly back and forth on this patch of fake grass. Our attention was directed just at the sensations on the soles of our feet. We didn’t look around and didn’t speak with each other or anyone else. We would laugh afterward wondering if people would call the paper to report an influx of zombies downtown!
Walking meditation provides an excellent opportunity to observe whether and to what extent other people’s reactions drive your behavior. It was hard at times not to wonder if people were staring, if they thought we looked stupid or silly, or that we were batty for doing this. Was it going to color their perception of us? It was hard not to give in to the temptation to just sit down and meditate, maybe even with eyes open so we didn’t look weird sitting with eyes closed in the middle of the park. Even when we do this practice in a closed room at the library with others engaged in the very same practice, thoughts of, “What do I look like? Am I walking too fast or too slow?” can arise. This is a rich opportunity to observe the mind’s activity and practice engaging with it in a way that serves us. As we get more skilled at noticing and responding wisely to thoughts and self-talk, we can gain some liberation from doing what we do because we think others will approve. Instead, we become empowered to engage in activities that meet our needs and help us lead rich lives as we define them.
We invite you to join us this week as we become familiar with how we let our assumptions of others’ interests drive our actions.
Monday 7:30 PM - Sama Yoga, 45 Grove Street, New Canaan
Tuesday 1:00 PM - Ferguson Library*, 1 Public Library Plaza, Stamford (made possible by a grant from Bankwell)
Wednesday 12:00 PM - New Canaan Library, 151 Main Street, New Canaan
May all beings everywhere without exception walk like zombies if it meets their needs : )
Your friends at CMP