Sitting with Annoyance: The Process of Transformation April 28, 2022 10:09
(Image: wind on water with reflections of prayer flags, the lotus pond at TMBCC in Bloomington)
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Recently, I traveled to Bloomington to listen to a Dharma talk. It was a beautiful spring day, and the teaching was both compelling and profound. Even though the content was philosophical in nature and a bit intellectually challenging, I was able to understand the gist of it. The talk was both meaningful and wonderful, as usual.
Typically, at the end of each Dharma talk, Geshe Kunga asks for questions and follow-up comments. One student followed up with a brief comment, which was relevant and useful.
However, another student, who has been absent from these weekly teachings for over two years, and who hasn't been following them online, interrupted Geshe Kunga's response to the first student's comment in order to make her random, disorganized, rambling comment--or question--or challenge to the first student's comment (I couldn't tell which). Her interruption went on for several minutes, and I could feel the irritation and frustration rising in my body.
Kudos to Geshe Kunga--he took the time to listen patiently and respond politely to this student's word vomit; however, I was quietly fuming.
The contrast between a clear commentary about an incredibly complex philosophical subject (by the way, we are reading and discussing the tail end of Mind Training Like the Rays of the Sun by Nam-Kha Pel) and a rambling refutation laced with unrelated metaphors and, what seemed to me to be a self-indulgent cry for attention, was too much for me.
This student (who I will refer to as A.D.S.--annoying Dharma student), from my vantage point, seemed to be needy, grippy, clingy, and desperate to make up for lost time and missed classes.
I'm not gonna lie--this individual pushes my buttons. Not only is she loud and aggressive, she's quick to anger, and she's prone to bullying. She tends to twist and distort the words of others to serve herself, and she's pushy, domineering, and very, very annoying to me.
Consequently, her long-winded, convoluted, needy-baby-greedy-baby rant pushed my patience to the limit.
After the dedication and closing prayers, several students and I helped clean up the temple (while A.D.S. continued to elaborate and justify her comments with the first student--again--loudly enough for the entire temple to hear).
I didn't stay to chat with others, like usual--instead, I left abruptly (I'm not even going to go on about how she didn't bother to help put away cushions and chairs after class, which is a pet peeve of mine, especially for experienced students who attend teachings regularly and who know where these things go--don't even get me started--that's another blog for another time :).
Instead of focusing on the profound and meaningful teaching on my drive home, my amygdala had been hijacked, and I was laser-focused on my frustration with A.D.S.
By the time I arrived home, I decided to embark upon an experiment. I was motivated to sit with this annoying situation in meditation sessions for the rest of the week. It was the perfect opportunity to apply the teachings, and I was curious about what the end result would be.
I committed to sit for at least thirty minutes each day to think about this triggering situation and my reactions to A.D.S, to observe the thoughts and feelings that would unfold over the course of the week, and to take a little time to write about and reflect on any observations. Here are the results of this experiment:
* I know what it's like to feel out of place, but also desperately wanting to belong or to be accepted. I know what it's like to say ANYTHING, even if it doesn't make sense--or it is too raw, harsh, insensitive, or unsophisticated. I know what it's like to say ANYTHING in the hopes of fitting in--even if it risks pushing everyone away.
* I know what it's like to be in a place that makes me feel safe--but that I don't feel worthy enough to be there. So, to compensate, I come to that space radiating insecurity, awkwardness, and uncertainty, which is often off-putting.
* I know what it's like to feel overwhelmed, anxious, and uncertain when coming back to a place that was important to me--a place that I had left for a time, but then returned. I know how it feels to have missed out on important conversations and events--to have missed out on the natural evolutions and changes that participants experienced--to feel left out of the loop and disconnected. I know how it feels to doubt how I will be received when returning to these places.
* I know what it's like to act like a cringeworthy fool--not to be foolish or funny--but to seek attention in an obnoxious, juvenile way--because it was the only way I knew how to express my need for attention.
* I know what it's like to feel nervous, and, as a result, overshare or spew incoherent, repetitive nonsense. What's worse--I know what it's like to be aware that I'm doing this, but can't seem to stop the flow of the word vomit.
Reflecting on times when I behaved in the same ways that I perceived A.D.S. to have behaved helped soften the frustration and anger. Empathy was paving the way for compassion.
Tuesday: The Willingness to Listen
Knowing when to speak and when to listen are powerful forms of discernment.
Hold space for the brash, loud voice. Let it quiver and cackle and crack until it winds down to a hoarse whisper--and finally, to a rumbling, sputtering, awkward silence.
Are you moving away from self-grasping, or are you hurtling toward it?
Listen to the ache of wanting to belong--the desire to take without the wish to give back.
Hold space for the broken, the desperate, the fundamentally confused.
Even when you're tired, filled with heavy thoughts and future obligations...
Hold space and listen.
Drift toward silent compassion--the willingness to embrace and accept undisciplined ramblings for what they are...without expectation, without the hope of resolution, without judgement and cruel critique.
Just listen... and hold space. This, too, is meaningful service.
Wednesday: Physical Symptoms
As this week-long analytical experiment progressed, I started to notice some interesting physical symptoms occurring in my body.
* During the day of the teaching and the subsequent "annoyance," my left eye would not stop watering. It came and went for a few days afterwards. Warm compresses and eye drops brought some relief, but it would flare up from time to time--like during this evening's session.
* Stuffiness--and a persistent ringing in both ears.
* Left arm pain--weakness and sharp, intermittent pain shooting from the left bicep all the way down to the wrist and hand. I have been dealing with a "frozen shoulder" for several months, and I have noticed that stress exacerbates the pain and discomfort.
* Two painful blisters had erupted on the skin above my left collar bone. These were most likely caused by kinesiology tape that my PT placed on my shoulder a few days days prior. I had removed the tape earlier, but the blisters began to sting and itch during the meditation session.
* I experienced a sharp, stabbing sensation on the my right shoulder blade--similar to a burning sensation just underneath the skin. This was a new sensation--there's nothing wrong with my right shoulder.
All of these physical symptoms occurred during the meditation session. Some of the symptoms were connected to sensory organs (the left eye, the ears). This could represent a resistance to looking at and listening to what was coming up in the session, or the initial annoyance. The left side of the body represents the feminine aspect--it also symbolizes the ability to receive. Blisters... unexpressed anger. Shoulder and arm discomfort... carrying the weight of a burden. Sensitive nerves...agitation and frustration getting under the skin.
My body was communicating to me clearly, and by taking the time to sit with this physical discomfort, to acknowledge these sensations without judgment, concern, or panic, I was able to receive the wisdom and to let go of the physical and metaphorical anger, frustration, and distress until these pesky symptoms eventually subsided. And they did--after just a few minutes.
Thursday: Evidence of Transformation
Over the course of the past two years, I have deepened my Buddhist practice. I attended online teachings during the lockdown, and when the temple eventually reopened, I made the hour-long commute every Sunday.
My practice has been a life raft for me during the pandemic, and continues to be an important part of my life. The temple feels like home now. When I first started to attend the teachings, I felt like a visitor--a welcome one--but a visitor, nonetheless.
Now, I feel a sense of meaningful connection--a sense of belonging. I don't have to try too hard or go out of my way to feel a sense of affinity. I no longer feel anxious or afraid that I would say something dumb or do something that would inadvertently offend someone.
I am more calm and at ease when I am in this place, and I want others to feel this way when they come here, too.
The essence of Dharma practice is to transform the mind. To transform it from a state of ignorance, anger, and attachment to a state that is calm and cares about others.
This situation has turned out to be a karmic quiz for me--to assess how far I've come in my own practice--and where I want to go.
Friday: Reflect and Rejoice
After several days of sitting and allowing thoughts and feelings to rise, fall, and drift, I have come to a few interesting conclusions:
* Even though, in the grand scheme of things, this annoyance was extremely minor, it's amazing how small, unexpected things can trigger strong reactions.
* My reaction to this situation has absolutely nothing to do with A.D.S. However, it has everything to do with me and my own state of mind. The good news is, my state of mind is fluid and capable of positive change and transformation.
* Sitting with an annoyance like this gives me opportunities to practice patience and to generate genuine compassion for myself and others.
* This week-long process helped me clearly realize how intricately connected the physical body is to emotions. My mind and my body were processing this situation, and, by the end of the week, both were calmer and steadier as a result of this experiment.
* Having the courage to embark on this experiment and then write this article is not only an example of sacred action, but it is also a reason to rejoice. It's evidence that my meditation practice is working--it's fostering positive growth and compassion, it's a catalyst for healing, and it's an indication of spiritual maturity. These are all reasons to celebrate.
* I am grateful to A.D.S. for giving me the opportunity to practice and engage in this analytical experiment.
There is a very good chance that I will see A.D.S. in the next couple of days when I return to Bloomington for the next Dharma teaching. She may even read or listen to this article.
I'm not anxious about either of these possibilities--nor am I dreading them. I feel open-hearted and receptive. I'm looking forward to learning more, and I'm confident enough to face whatever thoughts and emotions may surface. I know that, if needed, I can sit with them, too--and respond appropriately.
Thank you for taking the time to read or listen to this month's blog post. I hope it was helpful, and I hope it encourages you to continue to learn and grow as you embark on your own meditation experiments and practices.
While you're here, please check out the current MMM collection of hand-knotted malas. Several new designs have been added recently: middlemoonmalas.com.
Spiritual Maturity: A Journey from Woo-Woo to Wisdom February 17, 2022 10:45
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A few days ago, a friend of mine had posted a picture of the book Ask and It Is Given on Facebook. She had recently read it, and it resonated for her.
I don’t respond often to posts, but I felt the need to “chime in” with this one, in a compassionate way. I wasn’t mean-spirited or rude. I wasn’t judgmental or unkind. In fact, I admitted to my friend that I had read this book, too, years ago.
I had even purchased tapes (yes, tapes) of Abraham-Hicks conversations. I also listened to various Hay House Radio programs back in the day. I was totally on board and sucked into the “vortex” of woo-woo.
I had read The Secret, and I had watched the video, I’m embarrassed to admit, on more than one occasion.
During this time in my life (early 2000’s), I was attending psychic fairs, I read a lot of “self help” books (many by Hay House authors), I had angel and archetype card decks lying around the house. I was frequently shuffling decks and pulling cards for guidance or validation for something or other.
During this time, I consulted psychics, numerologists, astrologists—For an entire year, I participated in a “meditation” group that met weekly at a local rock and crystal shop.
I had immersed myself in a new age “spiritual” world, and, at the time, it resonated—or, at least, I thought so.
At the time, I was also very vulnerable. Jim’s father had passed away, we moved to a new home in a new town, we had invited Jim’s mom to live with us, my daughter was very young and just starting school, I had recently finished graduate school, and I was teaching full time. My life was very busy, stressful, and chaotic at this time. I didn’t have time or energy for deep thoughts.
Instead, I took solace in pseudoscience. It was easy to access, and I didn’t have to think too much. Most of the “guidance” I received from psychics was vague and general (which is typical). I liked the atmosphere of the rock shop with the sounds of ambient music, the tinkling of wind chimes, creaking wooden floors, and the ever present scent of incense—and all the shelves lined with new age spiritual books about spirit guides, animal totems, dream interpretation, channeled conversations from the spirit realm, near death experiences, and angels. All of this was very soothing, calming, and validating to me.
I felt safe here. I took refuge in the supernatural and the hokey. I made friends and felt connected to others who felt comforted by these things, too.
I was satisfied, satiated, and numb in this vacuous world of manifesting good vibes, generating energetic frequencies, and clutching shiny stones.
Even though I cringe writing about this now, this world was a necessary escape hatch for me at the time. I don’t regret the friends I met here or visiting this place. It was what I needed. It helped me manage my overly busy life. Yes, what it had to offer was superficial, contrived, and rife with sugar-coated magical thinking, but I loved it.
When I read my friend’s recent post and book review of Ask and It Is Given, it made me cringe a bit in embarrassment at first, but it also made me realize how far I have come since then.
Slowly, slowly over time I began to drift away from seeking comfort in vapid guidance on glossy cards and reading books that offered “There, there, Honey” reassurances but did little to empower me, enrich my life, or encourage me to contemplate deeply or take meaningful action.
Looking back, I was very gullible, naïve, and desperate for validation outside of myself. Reading these books taught me to look at myself, but in a very self-centered way. These sources never had anything specific or concrete to offer, and they also didn’t suggest being of meaningful service to others, which is critical for authentic spiritual growth.
These books, recordings, and tchotchkes were mind-numbing escapes from my mind-numbingly busy life. They were like a Styrofoam life raft in very dark and turbulent waters. At the very least, they kept me afloat.
Like all things, nothing is permanent. As my life changed, my interests also shifted. My life settled, and I started to crave more substance, more meaning, and more depth.
I also became aware of controversies associated with some of the Hay House authors as well as the publishing company itself, and critical thinking helped to break the spell for me. I became more mindful, picky, and discerning about the books I read. I selected authors who valued ethics, cultural diversity, inclusivity—and teachers who didn’t manipulate, lie, berate, or bamboozle their students.
I became hungry for practices that encouraged me to look at myself, but not to attach, grasp, or cling. I was drawn to practices that were simple, but also meaningful—practices that invited generosity, compassion, and kindness toward others. I was hungry for significant connections and interconnection.
Fortunately, this led me to seek out books, teachings, and teachers who would push me to be better, rather than lull me into a spiritual la-la land.
So, what am I up to now?
Currently, I’m reading books that feed my mind, that appeal to my need for spiritual connection, that inspire my personal practice, and that encourage me to be of meaningful service to others.
For example, over the last few years I have participated in three Retreats from Afar through Sravasti Abbey in Washington state, where Venerable Thubten Chodron is the abbess.
These programs include daily meditation sessions and weekly transcripts of amazing Dharma teachings that inspire me to continue to learn and practice. These Buddhist teachings are informative, specific, relevant, and Thubten Chodron always includes examples and analogies that Westerners can relate to and appreciate in her teachings.
I like practicing on my own at home, but there’s also the option to practice on Zoom or a livestream video, which is a wonderful option. This year’s retreat focuses on Medicine Buddha.
The Sravasti Abbey website includes a vast library of teachings (both in written and video format) that are free and available to the public.
In addition, Thubten Chodron has collaborated with His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, on a series of Buddhist books called The Library of Wisdom and Compassion (Simon and Schuster). Currently, six volumes have been published, and two more are slated for publication later this year. These books contain detailed, accessible Buddhist teachings, meditations, and commentaries. They are profound treasures of wisdom and meaning.
During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, I joined an online book club. We met once a month to discuss the book Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation, which included essays by angel Kyodo Williams, Lama Rod Owens, and Jasmine Syedullah. This book was engaging, real, contemporary, and controversial, and our group had excellent, and sometimes animated, discussions about systemic racism, privilege, and injustice--and how Dharma can be a vehicle for positive, meaningful change.
A few months later, this group gathered again (virtually) to discuss Lama Rod Owens’ Love and Rage: The Path of Liberation through Anger. Again, this book was compelling, personal, and timely. Our group had meaningful discussions—and I really appreciated how Lama Rod shared so many specific details about his own personal practice in this book.
Currently, our little virtual book club is now reading and discussing Everyday Zen by Charlotte Joko Beck, and we are enjoying the discussions that this wonderful treasure has inspired as well.
I also like Roshi Joan Halifax (Abbot, Head Teacher, and Founder of Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico). Her book, Standing at the Edge: Finding Freedom Where Fear and Courage Meet is excellent as well.
Believe it or not, I don’t just read Buddhist texts. I’m a big fan of Brené Brown (Rising Strong, Braving the Wilderness, Daring Greatly), Stephen Nachmanovitch (The Art of Is: Improvising as a Way of Life), and Martha Beck (Finding Your Own North Star, Steering By Starlight, and The Way of Integrity: Finding the Path to Your True Self), to name just a few.
I also have a few favorite podcasts that are engaging as well. They are rich with specific, relevant information, and they foster critical thinking. My favorites are The Mind and Life Podcast, IndoctriNation with Rachel Bernstein, and Conspirituality Podcast.
All of these teachers are helping me keep it together, that’s for sure :).
Twenty years ago, I didn’t really have a personal practice to speak of, but I was certainly searching for one. The angel cards and Hay House hokum were stepping stones and gateways to a much more compelling and authentic way of thinking.
My gullibility, naiveté, and exhaustion may have led me into a vortex of “woo woo” for a time, but, ultimately, this new age pseudoscience sparked my curiosity and my deep need for meaning and connection. They led me to discover authentic, ethical, inclusive, and diverse teachers and powerful sources of wisdom.
I don’t know where my practice will lead me twenty years from now, but I am continuing to learn, grow, and enjoy this journey—not only for myself, but for the benefit of others as well.
My hope is that my curiosity continues to lead me even farther, that my practice continues to deepen, my heart and mind continue to open, and my capacity for wisdom and compassion continues to grow.
I wish the same for all of you as well. Honor your journey—all the parts—even the bumps and unexpected detours. They led you to where you are now, and they’ve given you the courage, critical thinking, and patience to continue on your path, wherever it may lead.
In many ways, we are what we read, but we can always choose to close the books that no longer benefit us and find new ones that do.
Change Is Happening in This Space: Evidence of Growth from Daily Mantra Practice November 20, 2021 15:15
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I had a friend ask me recently how my mantra practice has changed my life or made a difference in my life.
At first, I mentioned small things--like finding joy and appreciating everyday moments--the burst of color of autumn leaves...watching a child toddle toward a school bus in the morning and not feeling impatient about having to wait in traffic, but taking a moment to enjoy the moment.
However, it occurred to me later that there was a more significant change that I've noted recently. It has taken time to develop, and it has evolved and morphed very slowly and gradually.
This change that I've noticed is that I am not feeling the need to elaborate on situations, events, or occurrences, especially those that made me feel unsettled, agitated, annoyed, or even traumatized.
Before I started a daily mantra practice, I was prone to oversharing details--whether good, bad, or indifferent. I felt inclined to justify myself or over explain even the most mundane occurrences. I wanted others to know "the whole story."
In recounting the details, especially of unsettling stories, I would relive the suffering of the original encounter, and I also ran the risk of causing suffering for others by spewing these details, too.
However, I've noticed a significant change in this pattern since I've been practicing regularly. I've caught myself on three separate occasions recently.
For example, I recently attended the Bands of America Grand Nationals Competition in Indianapolis. A friend of mine saw my FB post and sent me a private message asking if I knew a friend of hers who is a choreographer of band shows and who also happens to be a Buddhist teacher.
I messaged in response, "I know of him," but that was it. I steered the written conversation toward the current performances and how talented the musicians were. In other words, I didn't feel the need to mention or dredge up any unpleasant details.
I actually did have an unusual exchange a few years ago with this friend of hers. He wanted to argue about an article I had shared online about meditation, and when I didn't engage, he became increasingly more judgmental and angry. Ultimately, he got the last word with a snarky remark and then blocked me from his page.
Even these are bare-bones details. I don't feel the need, even now, to recount the entire story. It's water under the bridge. I also don't need this person's approval or friendship, and I didn't feel the need to bring up an inconsequential conflict now with the friend who messaged me. These details from the past were irrelevant to the current conversation.
I left it at, "I know of him."
In another recent conversation with a friend, this time a spoken one, we were discussing our Tibetan language lessons. I mentioned that I had changed textbooks, and that I had found another book that was more helpful for me.
I didn't feel the need to elaborate on the specific reasons or explain why the other text was not a good fit for me. I didn't mention the poor organization, the occasional misspellings, the firehose-type spray of overwhelming information in each chapter, which was incredibly anxiety-triggering for me.
Instead, I left it at, "I found another book that motivates me to learn," and we continued on with our conversation.
Finally, this pattern has not just had an impact on written and spoken conversations with others. It has also had an impact on my own private thoughts.
Last week I was at home sweeping the kitchen floor when I thought about a teacher who used to be at the Dharma center that I currently attend. He's since moved on to another center on the East Coast.
Instead of rehashing and ruminating about the handful of brief encounters when I had observed him being judgmental of others or rude to me, I simply stopped these thoughts with another one--"He's not my teacher."
This single thought put a stop to an unnecessary, negative thought spiral, and it allowed me to be present with what I was doing instead.
In essence, my daily mantra practice is preventing and stopping cycles of suffering for others and for myself.
I am choosing my words and thoughts more carefully, I am more engaged with people in the present moment, and I'm less likely to overshare or overshadow conversations with unnecessary editorializing and kvetching.
Even in my own head, I'm not allowing unpleasant memories or judgments to interfere with the present moment.
In short, I'm letting the irrelevant and negative details go. They don't serve others, they don't serve me, and they don't serve my practice.
I'm grateful for my friend for asking her question--and I'm grateful for having opportunities to notice this change in my thinking and my practice. I'm also hopeful that continuing to practice will bring about even more beneficial changes in the future.
My hope is that your personal practice benefits you as well as others, too.
By the way, the Indy Holistic Hub Wellbeing Fest in Indianapolis earlier this month was a big success. Several beautiful malas found new homes, and I am working steadily to add new designs to the online shop. Please visit middlemoonmalas.com to view the current and ever-growing collection.
The Benefits of Motivation and Curiosity: On the Road and in a Meditation Practice July 31, 2021 16:55
(photo credit: Muhammad owsama via Unsplash)
If you prefer to listen to this month's blog post, please click here for the audio link.
These past few weeks, I have been grateful to be able to drive to Bloomington to attend Dharma teachings in-person at TMBCC (Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center).
The center is now open for weekly teachings, and visitors are required to wear masks (an act of compassion that protects themselves and others).
An ongoing (and major) construction project is happening on State Road 37, which is the road I usually take to B-town. Part of this highway is closed, and a detour is required in order for me to reach my destination. The orange cones, "rodeo barrels," and ever-changing traffic patterns with unexpected curves and sharp turns make this weekly commute a continual surprise. The road is forever morphing and changing.
However, dedication, curiosity, and motivation inspire me to navigate my way back and forth each Sunday. I wake up a little earlier. I leave the house a little sooner, and I keep an open, judgment-free mind. Expectations typically create unwanted limitations, and they are a sure-fire way to set myself up for disappointment and stress.
I type in the address on the GPS system in my car and follow the directions (usually--a few rebellious "route recalculations" are part of the fun). Each time I've taken this trip, my car has led me on a different route.
I'm exploring new pathways.
I'm trusting the guidance.
I'm open to discovery, and I'm curious about the journey.
This is SIGNIFICANT growth for me. I am notoriously bad at directions, and I get lost and turned around very easily. As a result, getting lost used to be quite anxiety-triggering for me...to the point that it would prevent me from exploring new places and experiences.
I'm also not usually thrilled about driving long distances, either. This commute takes me well over an hour each way. However, I have been enjoying these excursions. I'm more relaxed and patient in the car. I'm less fearful and more open. I'm less disoriented and more curious. I don't worry about the time as much as I used to, and I have enjoyed taking in the new scenery each week.
I'm not sure what's changed, but because my motivation is strong, I'm more flexible, accepting, and eager to discover new pathways.
Meditation practice is like this, too.
Meditation is a method of self-regulation. Over time, a regular practice regulates my thoughts, which can trigger a relaxation response in the body.
Scientific studies have shown that meditation can reduce inflammation, which can ward off harmful disease. Meditation can increase insulin production, which can improve blood sugar regulation in the body. Meditation can also have anti-aging effects by preserving the ends of chromosomes (called telomeres).
Consequently, training the mind through a regular meditation practice can indirectly affect the expression of genes and influence the production of hormones. In other words, meditation can affect your body on a cellular level!
It can also encourage the growth of new neural pathways in the brain. This process is also known as self-directed neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the brain's ability to adapt to change. The environment, thoughts, and actions can influence the brain's ability to create these new neural pathways.
A regular meditation practice can improve the ability to focus and remain present. It can lead to reduced stress and anxiety, and it can also enhance and improve intuition and interoception (an awareness of sensations inside the body).
Meditation naturally leads to improved self-awareness and self-regulation. It can also prevent age-related brain atrophy and protect against memory loss. Meditation retrains the brain to become more fully present and to rely less on living unconsciously on "auto-pilot."
It's not easy to break away from ingrained habits--to bust out of the status quo and embrace new things.
Change is possible.
Growth is possible.
Where you choose to place your attention determines the quality of your life.
Personally, meditation has encouraged me to take more responsibility for my life. I feel more confident, and I'm more willing to explore new experiences and interests. I'm also less judgmental and fearful.
So, maybe not being able to travel to Bloomington and attend Dharma teachings in-person for several months gave me more time to meditate at home and hone my own self-directed neuroplasticity skills.
And, maybe all of these construction projects with their detours and alternate routes are pushing all of us, gently, out of our well-worn habits and encouraging us to explore and appreciate the scenery of unknown roads.
The path to awareness is both a physical and mental journey, and being open, curious, and motivated will help make this journey more meaningful and enjoyable.
Speaking of enjoying your practice--I have added several new mala designs to the online shop. Feel free to check out the full collection here.