Almost every Wednesday I visit my friend Curt. Over three years ago I took him up on his offer to teach a meditation class. We started out with simple five minute meditations focusing on the breath. Over time we’ve worked up to thirty minutes with a variety of practices. Curt’s yurt is set up like a Tibetan gonpa (temple). The walk out to the yurt past his horses and through the cottonwood trees helps to ground me and settle my mind. My mind and body anticipate the animated weekly discussions along with the quiet time spent in meditation.
Taking time out of my busy schedule to quiet my mind has been very beneficial. I wish I could say that I meditate every day but I don’t. Truthfully, I’m not very disciplined. I get distracted easily by other things. It’s not uncommon. What I know now is that there is no point in beating myself up about it.
The practice of lovingkindness has helped me to become less mentally abusive to myself. Through increasing awareness I can hear my negative self-talk. I then have heart-to-heart discussions with myself. I question if what I am saying is actually true. For example, on Sunday I felt like I wasn’t accomplishing “enough” on my new business. I took time to write down everything I had done in three days and it filled an entire page! Then I came up with another page of things to do. I could see that, in fact, I was actually moving forward and had accomplished quite a bit!
When I started taking pictures, people said they liked them. I thought they were just being nice. I didn’t believe my photographs were anything special until a friend of mine pointed out that not everyone knows how to use a camera and that people who don’t take pictures appreciate the people who do. Last year her encouraging words motivated me to make calendars from my pictures as Christmas gifts. Everyone said they liked the calendars. I chose to believe them. It’s almost funny except for the part that’s not.
Nothing is gained when I am unkind to myself or others. When I am kind to myself, I am able to be more kind to others. If we all could treat ourselves and each other with more love and understanding there would be fewer problems in the world. I wish it was so.