loving kind, meditation, meditation center, Metta, mindfulness, single pointed mind, sitting meditation, stress-management, stress-reduction, tai chi, tai chi chicago, tai chi concept, taiji, taiji chicago, taiji concept
On a basic level, New Year’s Day is our communal lucky day. Each year we get to start over on Jan. 1. And we have to be mindful. If we let it run together with all the other days – it becomes just another day … which it is. Of course.
As we start the new year, it’s easy to let our minds become very excited. We are full of good intentions. So many in fact, that it’s no wonder, mostly by the time we’re two weeks or so into the new year, that our resolutions have been lost in the fray of our busy lives in our complicated world.
Today, in my own reflections, I kept returning to one idea. Most trouble and unhappiness comes from trying to hold on to things which are innately impermanent. Sweet moments. Money. Friends. Family members. Pets. Youth. Beauty. Opinions. You name it. Right? None of these things last. So, why fight it all the time? What a waste of energy. Of life. You know?
All that struggle robs me of my peace. And worst of all, if that’s how I live, who do I have to blame but me? No one. So, 2010 is gone now. All that stress of those days, gone too. Here we are. 2011.
My one idea is to practice letting go none-stop. Moment by moment. To try my best to accept what is without judging it good, bad, lucky, unlucky, delicious, horrible, boring, fun, love, hated, friend, or foe. And so on.
How to do it? That is the question. For me, it’s a continuing focus on tai chi and meditation practice. A determination to practice daily, even when I think I’d rather sleep an extra 30 minutes. (And believe me, I’ve tried that way – and ruling out times when I’ve been sick with a terrible flu or something, no 30 minutes of sleep has ever felt as good as 30 minutes tai chi and sitting or standing meditation.)
What does tai chi have to do with letting go? Being more peaceful? Everything. The constant flow of movements, of postures which seem to appear and then slide into the next posture and the feeling of well-being that comes from that kind of relaxation and focus, is the ideal reminder. Let go let go let go. At a more minute level, in tai chi we practice to have the skin relax, the joints relax, even the layers of muscles and sinews piled between the skin and bones. When we do that, we move more freely, easily.
Standing and sitting meditation is even more profound an experience of this. Letting each breath arise, peak and dissolve. As we experience discomfort, instead of letting the mind hold tight to the feeling, we just see it as a feeling, fleeting…and try to let go of that too.
Doing these things day after day, morning and evening, helps us greet life with that same peaceful inclination to let go of all the little and serious things which come our way. We soften our grip. We soften the grip desire for this and that on our minds and slowly, we let go let go let go. As we do, we feel more peaceful. More calm. We have more energy. And so do those around us.
So, what do you think? What works in your practice for a more peaceful life?
Happy New Year everyone. Wishing peace and happiness to all.