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"We can't control the wind, but we can adjust our sails." This adage reminds us that most of life is

beyond our control and all we can do is adapt to these constant shifts of the wind. And so, after having a series of lovely meditation meetings at the Sharon Public Library. We find ourselves needing a different venue this week (and possibly in the future). When plans shift unexpectedly, we may feel annoyance and/or discomfort at unexpected change. Yet, if we slow down and view change as neutral or possibly positive, we allow the experience to take on new meaning. We can move forward with curiosity and set judgement aside. Perhaps the new venue will be quieter. Or the chairs more comfortable.

So, please join us tomorrow night as we meet in Room A at the Unitarian Church in Sharon, 4 N. Main Street, from 6:30-7:30 PM. We will begin with a brief introduction, followed by a body scan meditation and then a 10 minute silent meditation. After that we will enjoy open discussion.

Please RSVP to ensure your spot and also receive messages in case there are any “unexpected” changes to the event.

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Have you ever noticed that there is a constant stream of chatter in your head? Research confirms that we have somewhere between 60,000-80,000 thoughts per day. Zen Buddhism calls this phenomenon "Monkey Mind"... as the non-stop motion of the mind is akin to the frenetic behavior observed in monkeys as they swing from branch to branch, agitated and chattering wildly.

What is even more surprising than the quantity of daily thoughts we have, is the fact that 90% of them are repetitive. Our minds recycle the same concepts over and over without us being aware of the process, or the impact this ruminating has on us. These thoughts are generally related to fear, regret and self-judgement and many of them we have replayed for decades. They wind their way through our neural pathways, complete with emotion, visceral images and traumatic memories. If we don't slow down and observe this toxic medley of thoughts, we may feel discomfort and unhappiness without even understanding why. The background noise can be so pervasive and long-standing, that we have no awareness of the damage it may be causing. It is often said that "The mind is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master".

Fortunately, there are many ways to tame Monkey Mind using some simple steps of mindfulness:

  1. Recognition: Slow down and see if you can observe that your mind is running on auto-pilot. Once you identify the chaotic activity, you instantly defuse the power and begin to move consciously into the present.

  2. Become Present: There are many ways to achieve this state of awareness, and one of the easiest is to breathe in deeply from your belly while counting 1-2-3-4, hold the breath to the count of 4, and release your breath slowly to the count of 8. Repeat this a few times as you allow yourself relax into the calmness. Use this exercise as often as needed and it will become more effective over time.

At this week's meditation group I will speak about other techniques for recognizing and taming Monkey Mind. Please RSVP on the home page if you plan to attend.

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Updated: Sep 10, 2022

Each person's meditation practice is as unique as they are.

My personal exploration of meditation began in 2013, while trying to cope with profound loss. Through a grief group I was taught the basic concepts of meditation and mindfulness and quickly discovered that I could manage my "monkey mind", which was dragging me forward and backward in time... but never allowing me to be in the present.

Intrigued, I started to research various forms of meditation, settling in with Zen Buddhism for a couple years. We would join together in group practice, called a sangha, and chant, recite liturgical readings and silently meditate for two 25 minutes periods, plus a silent walking meditation. Each person must sit mute, without moving. As you might imagine, the minute I was told I could not move, my focus would immediately turn to every bodily sensation possible. A tiny itch would morph into a stabbing pain... eye twitches, sleeping limbs, aches and pain would scream for my attention. Over time I was able to conform (more or less) to these restrictions, but I felt there might be other models of meditation that would be a better fit for me.

Over the next few years I practiced guided meditation alone using the app "Insight Timer", which allowed me to select a subject, length of time, with music or without, etc. This app is available for free and is one of the most robust platforms you will find for meditation and mindfulness. During that period I also found a meditation group in Foxborough that offered a wonderful community of people looking to develop their personal practice and explore the contentment available through mindfulness. In 2019 I trained as a Level 1 Meditation Teacher and I have been sharing the practice ever since. During the pandemic I had the opportunity to learn Transcendental Meditation (TM) and experienced a deeper level of meditation.

I would love to share with you the simplicity of meditation and the profound benefits you will discover over time.

On September 29, we will be meeting at the Sharon Public Library, 6:30-7:45 to join in simple meditation (please feel free to move around as necessary:), followed by discussion. There is no fee and I will be posting the event sign-up on this blog. Please be sure to subscribe to the blog so you receive notifications of our meetings. Thanks!

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