Keeping it Real
We’ve been listening to Sharon Salzberg’s narration of her book, Real Love. (We don’t have a review of it up on our Resources page yet, but we will as soon as we’ve finished it.) It’s a beautifully comprehensive look at human connectedness, with meditation practices designed to help us build healthy habits of mind and heart toward others and ourselves.
Two of the many salient points she makes in the early parts of the book have lodged themselves in our brain ever since reading them:
1. The offering up of loving kindness during a Loving Kindness meditation doesn’t need to be accompanied by a strong upwelling of warm feelings toward someone. It can simply be an offering with a “spirit of generosity”. Letting go of the expectation that we should always be able to conjure up overflowing adoration for anyone at any time removes a lot of pressure (phew!) and reduces the chance that we’ll beat ourselves up for not being sufficiently open-hearted.
2. On a related note, she assures us that even if you don’t feel a major shift when you’re doing the practice, it is working. She relates how, after a week of doing Loving Kindness meditation when the practice was still new to her, she would have sworn that it was having absolutely no effect. Then she dropped something and it broke and the voice inside her said, “You’re such a klutz”, a criticism of herself that was consistent with how her inner critic often talked to her. And then it added, “But I love you anyway”, which was completely new. We love that story! One of the major pitfalls of meditation can be the striving for immediately visible change, or “a-ha” moments, and if they don’t arise, we think either we’re “bad” meditators (there is no such thing!) or it’s all just been a waste of time.
Taken together, these two reassurances help us to relax into our practice, allowing the benefits to flow organically. So far, Sharon Salzberg’s Real Love looks like a great support for “keeping it real” when we practice.
We hope you can join us this week as we practice offering kindness to others and ourselves.
Community Sits this Week:
Monday 6:30 PM Ridgefield Library 472 Main Street Ridgefield
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
Wednesday 7:30 PM Grace Episcopal Church 5958A Main Street Trumbull
One Day Silent Retreat Saturday September 29th, St. Paul’s on the Green in Norwalk. Here is more information.
Mindful Speaking and Listening Workshop Sunday September 30th, New Canaan Library. 3-4:30 PM. Join us to learn tools for open communication on any topic. We guarantee your Thanksgiving dinner will be much less stressful!"
CMP survives on donations. All of our weekly sessions are free and open to the public, but donations are essential to our sustainability. Checks, cash and credit cards are accepted and donations are tax deductible.
Check out our newly enhanced Resource Page at the website www.communitymindfulnessproject.org. We’ve got book recommendations, guided meditations, discussions of practices and links to other relevant websites. Let us know what you think!
May all beings everywhere without exception treat themselves with great kindness,
Your friends at CMP
Stay up-to-date on all CMP news and happenings by visiting our website CommunityMindfulnessProject.org.