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Mindful : October 2014
What do you say to someone with “no time to meditate”? We’re all disciplined about something, even if it’s brushing our teeth or keeping up with a favorite TV show. If you’re busy, let go of one thing—read one fewer ar ticle online or skip an episode of House of Cards. You need to make the space for space. As a seasoned meditator, what’s still hard for you? I’m amazed I can still perceive challenging experiences in life as “mistakes” and want them to be different from what they are. How has being part of a meditation group made a difference in your life? On the meditation path, it’s helpful to have fellow travelers, people interested in exploring the same questions. If you’re a bird-watcher, others might notice a bird you’re not familiar with. In this case, they might notice something in the mind. And if you’re sitting in a group, oddly you settle into your body more easily. You’re less likely to fidget or get up and leave, because you’ve made the commitment to be there with whatever comes up. It can foster deep friendship. As the executive director of the New York Insight Meditation Center, Sebene Selassie knows what helps you keep going with meditation practice—and the benefits of having fellow travelers on the path. Friends Help You See What You Can’t See Countless times fellow practitioners have suppor ted me emotionally, including during two bouts with cancer. Do you recommend people connect with a teacher? Yes. Some people are natural self-teachers, but most of us benefit from guidance and instruction when learning something new. We’re not practicing to become super- meditators. We’re practicing to gain some insight and wisdom. So, I’ve found it’s definitely helpful to have some insightful and wise people around. Would you suggest beginners try a retreat? Ver y much so. I enjoy the space and time to develop and sustain spaciousness and ease long enough for deeper insights to arise. Then I can tap into that ease more readily in daily life. What do you do to promote diversity at your center? We need to understand that the way we teach and who is teach- ing will have an impact on peo- ple looking for something that mirrors their own experience, so having a diverse body of leaders, teachers, and volunteers is vital. But it does take time.