Thursday, January 22, 2009

Meditation Simplicity

[Photo: graciousliving.ca]

Ok, I confess. Not only have I started attending yoga on a semi-regular basis but I’ve just come back from a meditation class as well. I shudder to think what the Jack of 2007 would think of the Jack of 2009…

Kudos to Tara and the Insight Meditation Community of Washington. The atmosphere was inviting and absolutely conducive to getting a better understanding of meditation as a life-long activity. I know almost nothing about Buddhism or meditation but that did not stop me from enjoying the process itself. While I admit that I nodded off a couple of times during the 30 minute guided meditation period, I can honestly say that I will probably come back for more.

I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something is definitely happening to me. Maybe it’s just curiosity; I’ve been so contemptuous of so many things for so long that it’s fun trying out certain things just to confirm how judgmental I’ve actually been. Or maybe the very act of embracing simple living allows a person to more easily reject existing paradigms and take a chance with the unknown.

Whatever it is, one thing is certain. Right now, there are no boundaries in my life. There are no judgments. Nothing is sacred. Nothing is closed. Whatever paradigms I embraced before are now permeable. Most important of all, nothing can be taken for granted.

30 comments:

Nicole said...

Jack, I'm happy for you. Just recently I've found myself getting back to yoga and meditation. Despite, what so many tell me, I'll never give up the heavy weights. There's something about benching your own body weight that is just empowering.

Anyways, before I digress any further. I'd recommend reading Open Heart, Clear Mind by Thubten Chodron. I'm rereading it now, and I think it will help you on your journey to finding a new and improved Jack.

LiLu said...

Just reading your posts makes me feel more peaceful.

april g said...

There's no greater peace than the peace that comes from being at peace in your soul. I too am on a journey to simplicity and can relate to that hunger for peace in your life. I've been finding peace in the most amazing places lately.

I recently joined a women's choir, and when I'm standing there basking in the beautiful harmonies of 30 women singing from the heart, the most amazing peace flows over my soul.

It has been foggy here for about a week, and while others are moaning about the dreary weather, I love the misty beauty. I pull on my gum boots, grab my bucket of compost, and mess around in the garden bed I'm building for the spring when I start feeling down, and I know all is well in my soul.

We hung a bird feeder in an arbutus tree in our yard, and I can sit quietly and watch the dozens of chickadees and robins for hours, knowing that they won't go hungry this winter...

Amanda said...

Hooray for meditation! If you ever feel like reading up on it, Thich Nhat Hanh's book The Miracle of Mindfulness is wonderful, and set me off on a different path some years back.

sailing Simplicity said...

Jack! Congrats. Meditation is wonderful. Check out a book by Thich Nhat Hanh and keep reading more Paulo!
Teresa

Metaphysical Junkie said...

I love hearing how much growth and change you've been through the past year. Just think...you've changed that much in such a short amount of time, and who knows where you'll be in another 1 (or 3 or 5 or more) years from now. Thanks for sharing your journey with us. :)

And I agree with the others. The Thich Nhat Hanh books are great.

Elizabeth said...

fun.

i'd recommend The Untethered Soul. i did a whole post on it a while back, it was such a joy to read. :)

notesofanomad said...

That is the great thing about insight meditation; you do not need to know anything about Buddhism! The Buddha taught nothing, actually, but to observe your mind. There have been many buddha who never even heard of the buddha.

Go to the website bswa (dot) org. There is a great teacher there, Ajahn Brahm, who puts out videos of his talks every week. There is a treasure of insight in all his past talks.

And talk about no boundaries, I hope you keep with the insight mediation, cause wait till you see that the self you think is there really never was.

Jay Bee said...

Jack -

I have been seriously meditating for more than a year now. One of the things that people most comment on is a change that has taken place. They "can't put their fingers on it. . " but I know exactly what it is. My friends all knew me as "the life of the party - but it was a bit of an act (you know, fake it till you make it). The meditation has taken me from being frenetic to peaceful. I am still the me they thought they knew, outgoing, energetic, and happy, but now the outside and inside match because I am finding a strange sort of peace. For the first time in my 4 decades I really like myself. And that's worth everything.


Hopefully that made some sense

Anonymous said...

What kind of lawyer are you that you dislike your job so much? Is it the numerous hours or uninspiring work? I am considering law school and a career in family law right now. I find it to be an exhilarating profession. Might you know many lawyers who enjoy what they do and still make a decent living?

bill h said...

very nice Post Jack. I'm glad you're finding some peace/contentment. Truly

I love this quote from Francis de Sales, patron Saint of writers:

"You should strive, too, to accustom yourself to go easily from prayer to all such occupations as your calling or position 80 lawfully require of you, even although such occupations may seem uncongenial to the affections and thoughts just before forming part of your prayer. Thus the lawyer should be able to go from meditation to his pleading, the tradesman to his business, the mistress of a family to the cares of her household and her wifely duties, so calmly and gently as not to be in any way disturbed by so doing. In both you are fulfilling God’s Will, and you should be able to turn from one to the other in a devout and humble spirit."

the reference to mistress is from another era, but the rest of it rings true for me. I love times of quiet meditation, just did that this morning, on my deck, with a cedar fire in the chiminea, some dark roast coffee, and my journal, but I look for that since of peace in the daily grind as well.

1sttimedad said...

You're very lucky. I hope to get there someday myself ...

PleaseRecycle said...

I love that the one thing that's certain is that nothing is certain. Those are words I live by. Sounds like you're enjoying the freedom!!

Storyteller said...

I'm so happy for the peace you have found - what an adventure to be open to changing your mind! =)

hugs,
Cynthia

Louise said...

I just read a really good book you might enjoy called 'Buddhism for busy people' by David Meachie, it's a nice mixute of his story and his discovery of buddism & meditation.

Heather's Moving Castle said...

Thanks for sharing your meditation & journey. I found yoga when I was pregnant with my first child. It helps me stay centered and focused. I have lots of different dvds I have used over the years. I do love yoga classes, but I prefer to practice every day, if possible. So, home is easier for me. I have gone through periods when I didn't practice. I always come back to it, more determined to stay centered daily, and understand the benefits.

I wish I could get my husband to do yoga with me. He prefers weights and he has problems with elbows and shoulders--I feel as a byproduct of the stress of using too much weight when weightlifting.

Namste!
Heather

Bankruptcy Bodhisattva said...

Jack - in order to be "of service" I offer, of course on a limited basis, a 99 cent bankruptcy case preparation and filing for persons on disability. I now have a minimalist, low overhead practice that permits me to deliver legal services to ordinary people at rates far below the norm in my area

livingmyrichlife said...

I love it. I love how you are opening yourself up to ne experiences and challenging old beliefs. I agree that when we simplify our lives we have the time to really think about what is important in life and to try new things.

a square peg said...

it's nice to see how energized you are by this process you are going through...

donna said...

Jack this post really echos how i feel i have changed ( and am continuing to change)over the last couple of years. I feel so much more open since trying out new things. Keep up the meditation, i don't manage to do it very regularly but whenever i do i really feel the benefit.
hey maybe you could try pole dancing next :) lol

lvnv4me said...

I don't know about Jack's opinion, but I am a lawyer. I have been practicing for eight years. Of my peers I only know probably half a dozen that genuinely "love" to practice law.

The rest of my peers, myself included, seem to hate it.

I will never forget a conversation that ensued during an attorney-heavy party I attended at another attorney's home. Most all attending were attorneys and the host was an attorney licensed in five states who had practiced law for 10 years. He had practiced mostly in a small firm as a founding partner and had a multi-million dollar income with his firm.

However, the host was transitioning out of the law because he couldn't stand it. EVERYONE there was back-slapping the guy and "lucky-dogging" him the entire party. That spoke volumes to me.

My observation is that most lawyers seem to have gone into the law simply because it was good money and they couldn't think of anything better at the time to do other than law school.

There is a reason drug and alcohol abuse among attorneys is alarmingly high. It is a tough profession. The system need to be revamped.

The system alternately encourages vilification of opposing counsel in court/contested proceedings, then supports going to have drinks with that same attorney post-trial as-if nothing ever happened because you were merely representing your client's interests. Somehow it is disingenuous and tough to put all the other stuff aside.

This is particularly true in family law, which is one of my practice areas. When you see what spouses/lovers will do to each other out of spite and often harming the children in the process, it is tough to ignore after a while. It does get to you over the long haul. The only way to survive in the contested family law arena is if you really don't care about your clients. You just handle them as a number. If you care about humanity and children go into mediation/arbitration if you must pursue family law.

And if you are one of the half-dozen and you truly have searched your soul and are going into law for the love of it, good luck.

Jane Faulkner said...

Jack, Nice to read about your experience with meditation and yoga. I just gave a workshop to 30 women lawyers and we sat in a sacred circle with an alter, passed a talking stick, did several meditations, standing practices (connecting to their bodies), and made vision boards. Seems like times are changing! Thanks for all of your courage....

Jack said...

@Nicole,

I still feel the same way re weight training. But seriously, this resistance band thing is surprisingly efficient. I can now totally recommend it. And thanks for the recommendation. My reading list is now over 50 books, but I promise to take a quick look soon.

@Lilu,

Thanks. Reading your posts makes me dig ex-bartenders even more.

@April,

Kudos to opening up to stuff like this. Every time I think about all the different things that life has in store for me and all the other stuff that I want to learn I feel more complete. Yoga and meditation is just a start…as choir is just a start for you.

Jack said...

@Amanda,

That’s pretty funny…that’s a book I came across when I first started thinking about meditation. Haven’t read it, but I now have an incentive.

@Saling/Teresa

More Paulo is definitely coming up.

@Metaphysical Junkie

Thanks for the comment. It certainly feels like the sky is the limit. I guess once you break through that thought ceiling anything is possible. Let’s see where this all takes me in 10 years!

Jack said...

@Elizabeth,

I’ll check it out. I seem to remember someone mentioning it a while back.

@Notesofanomad,

Cool…all the way to Western Australia. I like how you can download some of this stuff right off the webpage. Thanks for the tip. And let’s see where the meditation takes me.

@Jay Bee,

I ‘think’ that makes sense. I have to confess that I have just started on meditation so everything is still in flux. All I know is that I like it. On the other hand, what you are describing is reminiscent of what simple living has done for the inner me.

Jack said...

@Anonymous 1,

I think it’s a combination. The reality is that many people go to law school because they are unsure what they want to do. Many people are smart and talented but choose the profession in a process of elimination. I actually know some lawyers who love their work and are comfortable with the demands the professions makes on their personal lives. If you dig it, just go for it.

@Bill,

Thanks for the quote. Very appropriate. One day I will need to buy you a beer in person.

@1sttimedad,

Thanks. Are you thinking of meditation in particular?

Jack said...

@PleaseRecycle,

Words to live by. When nothing is certain anything is possible.

@Storyteller,

Thanks for the comment. How are things?

@Louise,

Ummm…sounds like it would be up my alley. I’ll check it out. Thanks.

Jack said...

@Heather,

Yeah, I’ve started to look at youtube videos as a start on the yoga front and some podcasts for the meditation. So far, it makes sense for me. And tell your husband that if I can be converted to yoga ANY GUY can do it.

@Bankruptcy Bodhisattva,

Not sure how I should respond. Are you advertising your services?

@livingmyrichlife,

And that’s the point. When you open up, anything is possible. And you suddenly realize that your way is not the only way.

Jack said...

@A square peg,

Thanks for the comment. How are things on your end?

@donna,

I’m pole dancing as we speak. I do a couple of songs, then blog for 10 minutes, then back to the pole!

@Lvnv4me,

See my response to Anon above. I do feel that a good percentage seem to enjoy it. But I certainly get your perspective. I can’t speak for family law since it is not my field, but the pettiness and disingenuousness is definitely rampant all over the profession. Personally, I am glad I am leaving Big Firm law. I just hope non-profit law is more fulfilling.

Jack said...

@Jane,

Just checked out your site. You seem to have a great breath of knowledge. How did you get involved in coaching?