From the BlogMeet Ron


Dear Friends,
I was watching the evening news last night here in Honolulu and while there is tropical storm approaching, the weather person on TV said the storm will most likely miss us, adding “but we should still be prepared.”

One way to look at why we practice mindfulness meditation is to be prepared for the storms of life.

We mediate even without any storm warnings, day in and day out, so that we have something to draw on when stuff happens. 
And eventually stuff happens in everyone’s life; even the luckiest of us have to deal with illness, loss of loved ones, old age and death, as the Buddha often noted.

We do so called “formal” practice at home or in a meditation group setting or retreat where we do nothing but mindfulness meditation. Doing this over weeks and months creates a spill-over effect: mindfulness at first trickles into our daily life, then all of a sudden we notice a big-time spillover.

You begin to notice you are being more mindful and aware while washing the dishes, taking out the garbage, talking to your kids or spouse.

And this mindfulness helps us stay more engaged and in tune with our life.

Often times I hear the complaint that someone does not have the time to meditate. I’ll just share this from a teacher I hold in the highest regard:

“You say that you are too busy to meditate. Do you have time to breathe? Meditation is your breath. Why do you have time to breathe, but not to meditate? Breathing is something vital to people’s lives. If you see that Dharma practice is vital to your life, then you will feel that breathing and practicing the Dharma are equally important.” 
~ Ajahn Chah

Formal practice does mature us. It enables us to be more realistic and work with the realities of our life without getting caught up by the negativities that our mind throws up in the face of challenges.
Practicing mindfulness meditation allows you to truly begin to live your own life rather than falling into the tendencies of your life dictating who are what you truly are.But remember, formal practice is not the goal. It’s just a means to create more space in your mind, in your life, creating the conditions for mindfulness to spill over, to put into motion an upward spiral of emotional and physical well-being, vitality and a sense of profound contentment.

I think for almost everyone I have met, it does take some time before this spillover happens — of establishing a so-called formal practice, of getting into the habit of sitting, if not every day, then at least for as many days as you can, beginning with just ten minutes a day, then gradually building on this foundation.

This advice from Dza Kilung Rinpochen is priceless. Please take it to heart.

“If you have only five or ten minutes to spare, that helps a lot. You don’t have to be an excellent meditator to start with. All you need to do is have your heart and mind make the following agreement: “Let’s rest. There’s no reason right now to wander around following thoughts or to be worrying. Let’s be relaxed and open.” There’s not even any need to shut down your thoughts. Just be there with them, but not overly concerned or engaged. Let there be total openness, and just relax within that.”
Together, we can do this.

Tom, Katina, and the kids,

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