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Monday, January 13, 2014

Meditate on this! (Sunday Sits)

My common Sunday evening activity, for the last year and a half, is to attend a meditation group.  My friend, Anna got me into it.  She's a fellow brain injury survivor too, so it's wonderful to have a more positive, open minded friend to relate to, in ways most people can't.  We each have very different difficulties, but that's the brain for you.  She, and her dad attended each week,  and it interested me, listening to them talk about their experiences, so I tagged along.  Soon, I was hooked, and looking forward to regularly going each Sunday.  Each visit can be so different from the last.  Sometimes, I'm consistently attentive, other times, I'm off in la-la land.  At least I'm learning to study my thoughts, and sometimes pass on an opportunity to go, if my mind isn't cooperating.  That can be hard to explain, but if I can't focus on one task, start to finish, I know I will not get much out of practice. Today, I did my laundry, baked cookies, and made tuna casserole, at the same time, and surprisingly did not screw anything up.  Miracle.  I knew I would gave a posive meditation experience, because I'd been able to maintain my focus, and compete my tasks.  If I have day, where I can't compete a single task, then meditation us a waste of time, for me, and leave feeling devalued.  Though, thankfully, tonight was great.

 It's a great social opportunity, I meet new people each week, from there.  Tonight, they began with a new activity over dinner.  Each table had a card reading, 'What is the importance of mindfulness in ---?
My tables blank was environmental pollution.  It was a really great way to dispell social cliques, and we all had to discuss options, and decide on one key point to share with the group, as well as a relative question.  In the beginning, I thought it seemed a bit trivial, but as our group coalesced, it was quite interesting to try to integrate the different viewpoints.  When I'm there, I need to be more mindful of how loudly I speak.  I'm a rather quiet talker, and carrying on a conversation, with about 40 other people, also having discussions about various world awareness issues, isn't quite conducive to my intelligibility.  One thing I still can't seem to grasp, is why some people pick up on my speech, as if I didn't have an issue, while others need me to repeat myself twice.  The gal sitting directly acrossfrom me, had a pretty hard time understanding me, on the first try.  Oddly, the peole on my sides, responded to my statements or questions immediately.  Meditation is all about training your mind to focus, which is a key benefit, I appreciate, but either I wasn't focusing on my clarity, or she wasn't focusing on listening.  It just struck me, as unusual, as is, most always, everybody does or doesn't understand my way of speaking.  I know I still have a long way go go, but I was trying, and focusing on my ability to make myself heard.  Usually, I forget, but I was actively on top of raising my volume, remembering to speak more slowly, and moving my mouth to form different sounds.  Believe me, it feels overwhelming, trying to remember my statement, and each of my vocal maneuvers, to form the right sounds.  All I can do, is keep practicing.

Meditation practice begins at 6:30, and our meditation teacher leads us through a guided meditation. I would not have a snowballs chance, in hell, at sitting still, focusing on my thoughts for 2 hours, if the practice was not guided.  Even with the guiding, I occasionally veer off, and think about something completely unrelated, and lose focus, on the story, and group discussion.  Out teacher, is quick witted, and is often presenting us with deep, philosophical questions.  He also makes it common practice to share a personal story, or antecdote, and occasionally poses a random question.  This is usually, when I can't help myself, and good-humored-ly jab the discussion.  I just can't resist, sometimes.  Thankfully, he laughs, and quickly responds, which gets everyone going.  I feel so fortunate to have found such a positive,open-minded group of people, within this practice.  And learning to control my thought patterns, has become such a helpful asset.  Check it out, and look for a group in your area.

3 comments:

Julie/Mom said...

I am happy to hear of your positive experience with this group! I know it doesn't always happen that way but glad this one is.
Speech is the most important form of communication in most cases. Keep up the hard work. I know your writing is noticeably better so speech can't be far behind! Nice blog.
Love you the most, Mom

Dad said...

Love to read your posts!

Patricia Mcdonald said...

One thing about meditation is that the exercise is not about thinking nothing, but coming back to the breath. So, don't judge yourself! Sitting quietly, no matter what your thoughts are, is always beneficial. The breathing, the coming back to the breath, that's what it's all about!
I love that you're doing this. Next time I see you, I'll try harder to listen and ask you to repeat when I don't understand you. Often, I don't ask, but I will from now on. Sounds like you're having progress...xoxo