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.