Last weekend I participated in a silent meditation retreat led by teachers Cheri Maples and Jack Lawlor. The theme was Experiencing True Freedom. During the first sit of Friday night, I realized I was far from true freedom. My breath was short, my body tight, and my mind agitated. Yet I hadn't noticed any of these things until I finally sat; until I got quiet.
I went to my yoga and Pilates classes last week; I moved my body. Yet I was still somehow disconnected from it. It took the meditation retreat--the space, the quiet--for me to realize how much tension I held in my muscles, in my heart, and in my mind.
The wonderful thing about these retreats is that I remember. I remember my breath; I remember to pause; I remember to slow down; I remember the landscape--of life, of emotions, of thoughts--always changes; I remember that each moment is a moment in which I can make a different choice.
Many meditation teachers discuss the impact of habits. A good question for any moment: what qualities of mind and heart am I sowing? Doing begets more doing; judging begets more judging; love begets more love; understanding begets more understanding. And attention, space, and mindfulness allows me to see these habits.
Often I forget these important teachings. But then I attend a retreat, and I remember. And that makes me smile.
When I'm mindful, I notice the light on the flowering grass. I notice the texture and the color. And I don't want more and I don't want different. I allow space for what is.