My blog is moving on and I hope you'll come with me. If you're a follower, I believe you'll no longer receive email notifications from Wordpress. The new blog will have the same address, but will be hosted by Squarespace. The address will still be slowbreathsoftheart.com. See you there!
Welcome to the Slow Breath Soft Heart blog. I hope you enjoy my thoughts on meditation, and it inspires you to try to start or enhance your own practice. I'm always interested in writing content about meditation in the legal field for your publication, speaking on the topic, or teaching an immersive session. Please see more information about my programs, or get in touch.
Meditation is not about ambition. It is about intention. It is not about doing it right or being the best or even about becoming enlightened. It is about sitting in stillness for twenty minutes every day. That’s all. Now, see what happens.
- The bottle of club soda gets knocked off its shelf and shatters on the floor. Shards of glass are everywhere.
- The espresso pot tips over and the coffee pools over the stove into the burners.
- There is rat scat in my garage and a large possum residing somewhere therein, maybe.
- The soles of my shoes disintegrate while I am wearing them.
- The egg yolk breaks.
- Sit in a comfortable position. For me, that is in a straight-backed chair with my feet flat on the ground.
- Treat yourself as you would a small child. As you meditate and your thoughts wander, be forgiving. Say: That's okay, you're going to get it. Try again.
- Do not set an alarm. Trust yourself to know when twenty minutes is up. Have you woken up a moment before your alarm goes off? Your body knows.
- When you have an idea that needs more thought, promise yourself you'll get back to that idea later. Keep your promise.
This is the most difficult advice to follow:
- There are no goals in meditation. If you're trying to achieve something, you're not meditating.
- Give yourself this time every day. Every day.
Corporations have come to meditation with the hope of boosting their bottom line. Decrease stress: increase productivity and develop leadership skills. Why not? Besides, who am I to judge? I also came to meditation with a secret desire for increased creativity and productivity. If you have a goal, you're not meditating. But everyone I know who has come to meditation came for a reason.
- Attention Deficit
Meditation may or may not fix any of these issues, but it will definitely bring a change and will definitely reveal something obvious about your life that for some reason was not apparent before. Just because the goal is workplace efficiency or a more profitable bottom line, it doesn't rule out the possibility that meditation will bring about unexpected benefits that were never the goal of the program. For me, that is the point of meditation. It's now what you are seeking, but what you find.
So for my money, more meditation for the suits! Let every corporation instill a meditation program. Bring on the capitalist karma.
The concept of a seahorse blew Edward away. It took a few minutes for me to realize why he was so astonished. At seventeen years old, Edward had never heard of such a thing and imagined a curly tailed creature, the size of a horse, rocking back and forth on the ocean floor. Edward lacks context. Among other things, he cannot read. I read for pleasure and I read to glimpse other worlds. To access. To gain purchase on what someone else can see, feel, describe. Not only in terms of what is out there in the world, but interior worlds as well.
Every session, I read a few chapters out loud from Matt Christopher's book, On the Court With... Lebron James. Last week, we read a chapter describing the death of Lebron's grandmother. His mother and her brothers were "grief-stricken," but since it was Christmas, they bravely carried on for three-year-old Lebron.
"Do you know what grief is?" I asked Edward. He shook his head. I tried to explain. "After someone dies, the sadness we feel is called grief."
Any boy who lives in the Juvenile Detention Center has obviously courted sadness and likely grief has found him many, many times. I was uncomfortable trying to describe this emotion to this hardened boy. Undefined and unlabeled sadness: was this like the seahorse for Edward? An enormous submerged sorrow, bobbing along, in worlds both familiar and unimagined.
Yesterday at the Juvenile Detention Center, I was browsing the building directory by the elevator and thought I saw this: OFFICE OF MEDITATION. Double take. Sigh. Apparently the folks at Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court and Detention Center think it's more important to have an Office of Mediation than an Office of Meditation. What a lot of difference one letter makes.
Joe came home the other day, very excited to have taken part in a program titled Where Smart Businesses are Going: Conscious Capitalism, The Business Model of the 21st Century. There are business people out there, looking beyond the goal of profits, who believe a corporation can and should focus on making the world a better place. Here's the gist:
In the words of Darden school of management professor and Conscious Capitalism, Inc trustee Ed Freeman, “We need red blood cells to live (the same way a business needs profits to live), but the purpose of life is more than to make red blood cells (the same way the purpose of business is more than simply to generate profits).” While making money is essential for the vitality and sustainability of a business, it is not the only or even the most important reason a business exists. Conscious businesses focus on their purpose beyond profit.
What better way to achieve executive enlightenment than through meditation? For the ultimate in corporate consciousness, follow me to the next logical step. Who wants meditation? Google wants meditation. Twitter and Facebook offer in-office meditation sessions and encourage work routines that maximize mindfulness.
But, let's face it: Google, Twitter and Facebook are the cool kids. Imagine a world where the dorks of the corporate world like accounting firms and widget manufacturing plants, bring a teacher in to teach employees to meditate and provide a dedicated private space where someone can sit in stillness. Instead of coffee breaks (not sure such a thing still exists), there would be meditative moments. There is a productivity paradox. Find the time to sit and do nothing and you will have more time available and accomplish more.
Meditation grows empathy and connects organic concepts in its subtle quiet way. Even the mystical aspects of meditation tread softly. The practice is inscrutable, but the results are evident. Who says it won't help the bottom line?
Between this and that, I notice 20 unscheduled minutes. What to do with this found time? Breathe, relax, focus.