I have been spending half an hour a day meditating with a friend who is having a lot of difficulty with clinical depression at the moment. While they say they’re finding it helpful, it’s also teaching me a few lessons.
A colleague of mine sent me a psychological study today that compares the beliefs of monastic and lay Buddhists, Hindus, Christians and Atheists around existential fear and generosity. ‘Astonishingly’, the article says, the monastic Buddhists evidenced the most fear of death, and also the least generosity in a thought experiment that offered them six months more life or a stranger far longer. From the contemplative perspective, is this in fact such a surprise? I’ve reflected on my own beliefs and experiences around death.
The usual, problem-solving mind says that the solution is always Out There, with resources to be gathered and people to be swayed, and this has often extended to spiritual practice in my own life: a sense that the unconditional and the good is somewhere away from here and I have to journey towards it.
Going along with the sudden theme of patience recently has come the theme of dignity.
My new reinforcement word for instances of mindfulness, self control and (especially) anger is ‘patience’. Continue reading
A rapid-fire post about practice over the last month:
Building up my daily practice, and feeling optimistic about it: noticing new or clearer aspects of experience every time is very encouraging, even if this period doesn’t last.