During the month of February, challenge yourself to participate in MMC’s 28-day meditation program. It’s simple: Commit to meditating each day and connect online to share experiences – pleasant, difficult or otherwise. We will follow the meditation program outlined in Sharon Salzberg’s book, “Real Happiness.” This blog will be your guide, including links to helpful Web sites and guided meditations. Meditation can help with overall wellness, pain, stress, anxiety, sleep and concentration. This is your opportunity to start a new practice to enhance your wellbeing or to continue your practice in the company of your fellow Griffins.

Sign up with the form below and to the right and check back here often.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Actual experience and the stories we tell

In "Real Happiness," Salzberg tells of a friend whose company downsized as a result of the recession and he lost his job. He viewed his circumstances as his own fault despite the worldwide economic conditions, and started to think "everything is always my fault."

Reading that story, I notice at once that Salzberg's friend's logic is clearly flawed. But I know that I am also prone to blaming myself and know that when others point out my illogical thinking, it's hard for me to see that objective perspective. Mindfulness can help us notice when we're telling ourselves stories like that, and clinging to them without even realizing it.

She writes:
In mindfulness meditation, you observe what you're feeling with interest, curiosity and compassion, then let it go, without beating yourself up over it (I'm a horrible person!) or clinging to it (How can I make this peaceful feeling stay?); without musing on its meaning, or coming up with a game plan (though you can do both of those things later, after your meditation session). Mindfulness meditation doesn't eliminate difficult feelings or prolong pleasant ones, but it helps us accept them as passing and impermanent. Our goal is not to hang on to them, nor to vanquish them, but to pay attention to them in a deeper, fuller way.

It would be interesting to hear what you think of this way of shifting your relationship to your own experiences. How do you think that will affect how you feel or what you do?

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