Sharon Salzberg: On Bhavana

Dr Urszula Klich with Sharon Salzberg: 28 Day Meditation Challenge

I had attended Krishna Das and Sharon Salzberg’s retreat before and looked forward to their outpouring of insight through storytelling, meditation, and chant. So, the anticipation of this experience brought back all sorts of warm memories of tranquility, insight, rest, and revelation. This time, over a hot cup of Chai tea, Sharon and I would chat for hours late into the night in the simple cottage. We reminisced and spoke about everything from life’s mundane, everyday, joys and hassles to coping with trauma. I was privileged to hear personal stories of some of her early experiences in India while discovering meditation. The practice of Loving- Kindness has been her life’s path.

Click to listen to Sharon Salzberg speak on Bhavana

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The Journey to Benin Anew

Sharon Salzbert 28 day meditation challenge
The Journey
by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice—
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world
determined to do
the only thing you could do—
determined to save
the only life you could save.

The first time you have to do anything, it is new to you. I find that it really doesn’t matter if you have done something like it, or spent time thinking about it. There is just a process you go through when something is new. We may be tempted to label the experience as good or bad, and us as happy or sad. But those labels are often what keeps us stuck. What if we suspended judgment? I invite you to do so as you sit, for the first time, during our 28-day challenge (sign up for free meditations at http://www.sharonsalzberg.com No matter if you have meditated before—whether you’ve done so for years or days, on retreats, or in your room, through centered prayer, yoga, or martial arts. I invite you to meditate today like you are meditating for the first time.

I invite you to hold a curiosity for the meditation, like you might have when entering a foreign land. You might try envisioning the sitting as a great open field which you are entering, or perhaps like a fresh blanket of snow in which you may create your snow angel. Each breath a footprint, each thought a falling snowflake. And in this way, you may leave the time-worn past behind, and begin anew.
-Urszula Klich

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Meditation on breath

Sign up to listen to our meditation on breath.

After you listen, be sure to check your email for the direct link to play it any time!  Check out the full CD here.

* Please allow up to 60 minutes for your email to arrive and check your spam folders.  You may need to add MyMindfulWayofLife.com to your filter.

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The “No Time To Meditate” Meditation

Sharon Salzberg 28 day challenge Mindfulness based biofeedbackDay 22- It seems that there is no time for time…or to do enough in that time. If I let myself get caught up in this ideology I will start thinking about all of the things I have to do and the amount of time left.  The super calculator in my brain would just combust.  Our sense of time is nonsensical. Anyway, I know better. See, I didn’t even list the things I am trying to do right now.  In the years of my Type A recovery I have learned that multitasking is not a real thing.  Most importantly, I have learned to just let go and do what I can, one step at a time, and to be present for it.

So if you are feeling any twinge of not having enough time, focus, organization, or whatever it is you don’t have enough of, this is my offering to you.  For the rest of the Real Happiness Meditation Challenge check out MyMindfulWayofLife.com and access our 5 minute Meditation on Breath: Click for meditation

Check out the full meditation CD with soothing sounds of nature here or download it on Itunes by searching for Mindfulness Based Biofeedback by Urszula Klich.

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Sharon Salzberg Meditation Challenge- Day 16 Begin again

MyMindfulwayofLife.com

sunrise by ikarwowski-deviantart.com

Begin Again

How is sit-sit-sitting
going to help?
When all I wanna do
is yell-cry-yell!

Okay okay okay
I’ll try again anyway.

I take a deep breath,
notice where my attention goes,
find I’m feeling grateful
for my amazing nose.

But then I remember
so much work to do,
and I’m not limber,
and I’m mad at you.

“Notice, simply notice,”
the calm voice says,
and I start to realize
the power in my head–

when I simply notice,
name, and let go,
this future-tripping
falls away like snow.

This judging and anger–
it’s ok they’re there,
but they’re not the same as me,
and I am everywhere.

Another deep breath
as my hands begin to warm,
and I forget to worry
about my lack of perfect form.

None of us are perfect,
and that’s okay.
Somehow each and every moment
can be the start of a new,
perfectly imperfect day.

                                  -Signed, Meditating Poet.

 Some days we want to never end, some days we may count down the minutes.  The moments contained in each of those days is precious in its own way, and possibly informative if we can stay present.  Each breath can be a resetting of the clock to signal a new beginning, even if only to get through a moment of difficulty.  Starting anew, beginning again is a way for us to refresh ourselves.

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When You Are Hungry – Eat

Sharon Salzberg 28 day challenge Mindfulness based biofeedback
To meditate, or to do work, or to check the blog, or to be with the kids?  THAT is the question.  The possibilities floated by like fish gliding through the ocean and circling back around.  They weren’t intrusive thoughts.  On the contrary.  I barely paid any attention to them. That was it! I was not paying any mindful attention to what I was doing or my thoughts. Continue reading

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What We Lose When We Turn Away From Pain

my mindfulway of lifeThese thoughts arose from my stuffy nose sitting meditation.  I’d been down this road before. A sinus infection, a cold, a relentless headache.  None of these are an excuse to skip meditation, in my mind.  At the same time, these challenges dont make it any more pleasant. Over the years, I have begun to think of each sick, painful or “off” feeling as an opportunity to deepen my practice.  I suppose one could say this about any adversity.

Tonight, as if I needed to forewarn myself, I acknowledged that this would be my stuffy nose meditation.  It was almost as if to banish any expectations of relief or potential serenity.  So, I set my timer for a conservative 15 minute cutoff which I rationalized was adequate to sit with my stuffy nose, in my tired body.  My routine is to start with observing the breath from its moment of entry.  So there it was.  The breath was not going to make its way into my nose today. My mouth was getting dry and lips were chapped from the dry air. Still, I was in acceptance and I knew that was fine.  I would simply sit in expansive awareness and notice the totality of the experience.

Then, it arose.  The utter boredom.  It happened in a flash.  My mind had tired of being with this unpleasantness and sought greener pastures. It’s not even that I thought of good things, just anything other than what is. I had started to get absorbed in planning a task. I caught myself and laughed. I thought to myself, “if I am going to be with something else unpleasant that is not even happening, I might as well be with what is.” Here I have the advantage of truly feeling in real time. There was certainly much more richness within the present experience, outside of the breath itself.  Of course. There was the cozy comforter I had positioned around my meditation cushion.  It was warm, quiet and there was nothing to have to do but just be.  It was then that the fullness of the experience was present before me.

When we turn away from pain, we turn away from the only moment we have.  In that way, we don’t just avoid what is negative but miss what is full and good.  I emerged from my meditation with a stuffy nose and a smile. It was not that long ago that it occurred to me that wherever we are we need to practice being there, even if it is unpleasant or boring.  Otherwise, we will soon find ourselves somewhere else during those times it really matters, being only partially present with people we truly care about.

Read more in “Wherever You are You are Somewhere Else” If you haven’t done so already I, along with meditation teacher, Sharon Salzberg, challenge you to join us on this 28 day Real Happiness journey. In addition to resources at SharonSalzberg.com  check out MyMindfulWayofLife.com and access a free sample meditation to follow along: Click for meditation Come along there is still time to Begin!

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