“We can still be crazy after all these years. We can still be angry after all these years. We can still be timid or jealous or full of feelings of unworthiness. The point is … not to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we already are.”
As we hit the halfway point of our time together in the CDP, we explored the common stages of “progress,” which are striving, disillusionment, and radical acceptance. Remembering that the “stages” are quite non-linear — and in fact in some cases, could happen simultaneously — we considered the following questions during class inquiry:
Question 1: Remembering that we cycle through the stages of progress (striving, disillusionment, and radical acceptance), where do you think you are in that cycle at this very moment?
Question 2: Are there any new areas of steadiness, strength, delight, or warmth unfolding for you in terms of your self-compassion practice? Even if subtle? Can you NAME this new steadiness or strength? Feel it? Let it sink in and permeate your body?
Question 3: Are there any stuck areas or resistance happening for you right now? (Mindfulness, formal practice, self-kindness, struggling to attend class, etc.) If so, what? Is it possible to write yourself a tiny note of encouragement, right now? How can you reduce the struggle?
Question 4: Is there any support you might like to request from the group in regards to your experience in the course? If so, what?
- FORMAL PRACTICE: FIRST — are you remembering that meditation is an act of love? 🙂 Or is striving in the driver’s seat?
Please practice 20-30 minutes at least 5x per week.
Something to try: If you haven’t done a walking meditation in awhile and your sitting practice needs some livening up, I’d encourage you to have a go at walking meditation. If you have some experience with walking meditation and have some pre-existing negative judgements about it, can you try it with beginner’s mind, just once, and see how it goes THIS time? Some people like to alternate sitting with walking practice as a formal practice. Why not give it a shot?
There are many ways of practicing walking meditation, and I encourage you to find the way that best supports your practice. My preferred technique is as follows. Allow it to inspire you as you find YOUR way.
- Find a private, safe place where you can walk (no needing to dodge cars or wayward dogs).
- Some of us like to not have to make too many decisions while walking in meditation, so it could be helpful to seek out a narrow path or well-defined area. If you’re fortunate enough to have a labyrinth available to you, help yourself to that! Any open, safe space will do.
- This isn’t about getting anywhere. At all. The pace will be glacial.
- This is different than the sense and savor walk we do in MSC. Rather, this is a continuation of your sitting practice in which you mindfully connect with the internal experience of the breath as well as your own bodily sensations (feet on ground with each step, warmth in chest, etc.).
- Some people like to clasp hands together. Others like arms to hang at their sides. Whatever is most comfortable.
- Some people like to alternate inhales and exhales with each step. Inhale, left. Exhale, right. Repeat the cycle. After you acclimate to the slow speed of walking meditation, you’ll find the rhythm and tune in to internal experience.
- Cycling through the following noticings as you step:
- Am I aware?
- What am I aware of?
- How am I relating with that which I’m aware of? (Attitude, tone. Can you soften)
- You may wish to stop movement every now and then, stand still, and sense into your body, noticing what is true in that moment. How you are relating with what is true?
- After some practice, you may even find that time flies during walking meditation!
In this video, Thich Nhat Hanh instructs in walking meditation. As always, find your own way!
- JOURNAL CONTEMPLATION (optional): If you wish to continue your contemplation on stages of progress, you may wish to carry on the following inquiry in your life and in your journal:
- What is your blue print for each of the “stages?” For instance, if you’re in striving, how does that express itself in your body sensations, habitual actions, the way you treat yourself or others? Contemplate this for striving, disillusionment, and radical acceptance. If you feel them simultaneously, what does THAT feel like in the body/mind?
- If you find yourself right now in striving or disillusionment, can you write yourself a little note of encouragement right now?
- If you wish to share any of what you discovered with the others, you may do so on this dedicated discussion board item.
- CREATIVE INVITATION: The invitation for this week is to rest. 🙂
- This week’s video recording: Password: “Stage$“
- Video: “The Fly,” a beautiful demonstration of the three stages of progress!