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Mindful : June 2013
Every act of mindfulness contains a bit of generosity already. When we choose to escort our wandering atten- tion home, it’s as if we’re reaching out a hand to a child who is lost in a crowd and struggling to get to the safety of their parents. We start by lending a hand to ourselves. After giving the gift to ourselves of letting our emotions come and go with- out being so harsh about it, we can start to become more gen- erous w ith others and their states of mind. A s we become less caught up in our own little dramas, we discover that The mindfulness road can be rocky. It takes g uts to return again and again to the pres- ent moment, especially when our impulse is to run away, attack, or hide. And we will reg ularly fail. When the novelty has worn off, when we’re doing the spadework of meditation and what we excavate is smelly, dark, irritating, boring, or frightening, this is a chance to work on being steadfast. Can we trust that the plummet- ing self-esteem we’re feeling right now is okay? Can we patiently let our thoughts and emotions run their course? Can we return to the now when it’s not where we’d like it to be? Can we return to our mindfulness when our minds aren’t calm and we feel like we’re getting nowhere? The other people, with their own struggles and challenges, are really not so different from us. We start giving them the room to be themselves. HOW? Meditation is most beneficial when it’s not just a solo spor t. See if you can find some other people to practice meditation with, people with whom you can share the experience of being more open and the challenges that can go along with that. Openness can be contagious, and the tendency to hold back from being free and generous with others can be worn away. reward for sticking to it is the deeper confidence that devel- ops—the feeling in our bones that we can handle whatever life throws our way. HOW? Using breath as an anchor, we can be with what- ever presents itself. Knowing that this moment is already here—and that the only sen- sible thing is to be with it—we can ride the waves of difficulty with dignity and poise, like a good rider on a spirited horse. We can still seek the suppor t we need, make changes we need to make, or let someone know they need to stop hurt- ing us. In doing so, though, we use the wisdom of mindful- ness as our guide, drawing on deep inner resources to negotiate the journey with gentleness and skill. ● Being Generous Sticking to it in practice 76 mindful June 2013 insight