Wednesday, February 13, 2013

"Taste the beauty of being alive"

This is just one nugget of the thoughts, quotes and conversations that are being shared in my insight meditation series that began one month ago.

I admit that I am so thankful to take the leap and seek out a teacher to guide me through a more mindful way of life. There is a supportive peace in the room which arouses the curiosity and encourages further study of the practice. Yes, some days to sit for 15 minutes has been unproductive (I think, but maybe not) and focus on the breath entering and leaving my nose.  Its amazing how quick your mind can jump ship after three breaths, but the kind manner that you draw yourself back in is therapeutic in its own right; no frustration, no condemning, no 'give up' attitude. 

I believe that one of the most important aspects of a meditation practice is your 'comfortable seat' . If you can't sit comfortably on the floor then sit in a chair with whatever you need such as lumbar pillows, ‘o’ ring cushions, sturdy chair with feet flat on the floor.  If you can sit on the floor with a meditation cushion or bolster but start to fatigue after several minutes, then consider propping yourself against the wall for support and use blankets or a lumbar pillow. Don't allow your seated position to sabotage your meditation. 

Here is an abbreviated list of the books on meditation and mindfulness provided by my teacher for you to explore and fuel the spark of your mediation practice. 

Mindfulness in Plain English. Venerable Henepola Gunaratana, Wisdom Publications, Boston
Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness, Gunaratana, Wisdom Publications, Boston
The Meditator’s Atlas: A Roadmap to the Inner World.  Matthew Flickstein, Wisdom Publications, Boston. 
The Experience of Insight, Joseph Goldstein, Shambhala, Boston
Insight Meditation: The Practice of Freedom by Joseph Goldstein. Shambhala, Boston
Seeking the Heart of Wisdom: The Path of Insight Meditation. Joseph Goldstein & Jack 
Kornfield, Shambhala, Boston
A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life. Jack Kornfield. 
Full Catastrophe Living Jon Kabat-Zinn, Dell Publishing, New York
Wherever You Go, There You Are. Jon Kabat-Zinn 
Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living. Pema Chodron
When Things Fall Apart. Pema Chodron
The Places that Scare You, all three by Pema Chodron, Shambhala, Boston
Loving-Kindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness by Sharon Salzberg, Shambhala, Boston.

Insight Meditation Society, Barre Center for Buddhist Studies and Sharon Salzberg’s and Joseph
     Goldstein’s Home Pages<>
Insight Meditation Society is one of the major insight meditation centers in the US. Barre Center is loosely associated with IMS. Sharon Salzberg and Joseph Goldstein are two of the founders of IMS and a wonderful teachers.
Spirit Rock Meditation Center<>
Spirit Rock is one of the two major insight meditation centers in the US. 

Life Shared