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Archive for the ‘Spirituality’ Category

Last night, preparing to welcome in 2011, I was pondering New Year’s Resolutions.  I still make them, though over the years I have learned to make concrete, do-able resolutions rather than broad sweeping ones like “get fit” or “get organized.”

In that vein, I started to contemplate.  I recently read some “best resolutions” in a magazine and one lady said she vowed to try 3 new recipes a week.  I thought, “that’s a bit too much, but what about one new recipe?”  Then I got to thinking, “I’d really like to clean my office out this year and make it more of a haven, but how to do that?  Maybe clean up and get rid of one thing a week?”  Could I do anything else, one thing at a time?  Eventually, my resolution crystallized into “one new thing.”  I plan to try to do at least one new thing per week this year.  It may be a new recipe or signing up for a cooking class or a new fitness move from a magazine.  Small or large, it doesn’t matter.

Then I thought a little further.  What would these new things do for me?  Hopefully they’d be good.  Maybe I should call it “one good thing.”  Then I thought, heck, good things happen every day, maybe I should resolve to take note of them.  That’s when I decided to go out today and pick up a  pretty journal to keep next to my bed and every night look back on the  day and make a quick note of the “one good thing” I could say about that day.  It’s not a gratitude journal, it’s just an acknowledgment that every day brings SOMETHING that’s good, no matter how tired and cranky and down we might feel sometimes.

Of course I will pursue “one new thing” as well.

What’s your New Year’s Resolution?

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Meditating on Traffic

I really have to apologize for not posting all week.  I really thought I could get a post in most workdays, but I have been walking during my lunch breaks and am too beat when I get home from work to turn on the computer!  I will try to improve, but I started this blog because I thought it would be fun, and I don’t want it to become a chore.  Please check back once in a while and hopefully I will get at least a couple of posts up each week.

So, at the end of the summer, I read an article about Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, a Tibetan Buddhist monk dubbed “the happiest man in the world.”  I checked out one of his books, “The Joy of Living,” from the library and slowly read it over about a month (had to renew half way through reading).    My only experience with meditation was from yoga, where our instructor would occasionally have us practice a small bit.  The book was a good introduction to the basics of Buddhism and also some instruction on beginning meditation practice and I was curious and did try most of the exercises he outlined and was intrigued and want to investigate further.  Unfortunately, thus far I have not been able to commit to a dedicated practice, but I try to remember to fit in a few minutes of meditation where I can.

Last week I was coming home from work a bit frazzled.  I have one day where I need to be into campus at about 7 am to teach a 7.30 lab and then I have another class that afternoon where I have to lecture from 4.30-5.45.  It’s a LOOONG day.   I am very lucky to have a spouse who works at home and loves to cook, so he takes care of most dinners during the week.  But on this day, he had a late conference call, so I said I would put together a quick meal of spaghetti and meatballs.  I had to stop at the store on the way home, since my quick spaghetti and meatballs requires a jar of Ragu to dump the frozen meatballs into and I was a bad girl and did not have any stocked in my pantry.  By the way, my favorite sauce for a quick meal like this turns out to be Ragu Old World Style Traditional Sauce.  Cheap and pretty tasty.

Anyhow, the traffic was nasty (at least for my small town – nothing compared to big cities) and I was pretty cranky by the time I actually got to the store.  Zipped in, got what I needed, and zipped out.  I realized that I didn’t want to try try to make a left hand turn out of the lot with all the traffic, so I went to a different exit with the intent of turning right and driving around the block to get headed in the correct direction.  Just as I came to the exit, the nearby light turned green and a long stream of traffic came across my path and I knew it’d be a long time before there was a gap that I could slip into.

My first instinct was to curse, but then I thought, “well, I might as well just meditate on the traffic.”  So I watched the cars go by with no judgment or concern, just watched the colors, enjoyed the movement, and it seemed like only a few seconds before the light had turned red and it was my turn to go.  Wow, I thought, that was really interesting.  I went home and told my family and they just gave me that look – she’s gone a little goofy again.

The next morning I left for work and came to the light near my house just as it was turning yellow.  Shoot, I thought, I will have to sit here for about 4 minutes until I can turn.  Well, let’s just meditate on traffic again.  So I did.  At first I was a little annoyed that only a car and a pickup drove by and I was just sitting there at an empty intersection.  But then I remembered to just observe and not judge.  Look at the peaceful intersection, thought my mind.  Oh, look at the yellow school bus coming.  About 5 seconds later, or so it seemed, I had a green arrow.  Damn, I said, this really works!

It’s kind of crazy, but give it a try.  Meditate on traffic, just watch it as it goes by and forget about being angry, impatient, or tired.  See if time doesn’t speed up for you.  No wonder Buddhist monks are so calm.  They’ve had A LOT more practice than me!  But I do intend to research Buddhist practice and meditation further….

Best regards,

Lynn

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