Monday, March 07, 2005

My practice...

On February 23 I wrote "I am what I practice..."

I am astonished with how powerfully my practices impact my life.

Last week I attended a meditation practice with Sharon Salzberg leading, and during her discussion, Sharon said some have come to her and have expressed they don't "feel" anything happening during their meditation practice. She asks them if their life is any different, and some exclaim, "Yes, my life is changing beautifully" or they say, "People tell me I am very different..."

In the same way, I am not always aware of major growth during my daily practices (though sometimes I am dramatically aware), but the impact on my life is astonishing.

For one month now I have been practicing mandalas, each day coloring intricate mandalas following the 12 stages of the Great Round of the Psyche. Some mandalas take several days to complete, write of the experience, and evaluate color choices. While I struggle to express the experience in words, I can say without hesitation my experience is powerful. Sometimes in the course of a troubled day I reach for my book of mandalas and lay open the pages just to see, meditate and reflect on a completed circle. Sometimes the mandala speaks to me of cascading, opening energies. Sometimes I come into connection with Something deeper, Unknown, that calms me and shows me my life is in alignment, that all is well. Mandala practice has provided me the simplest, single most powerful stress management tool I have known. And I am barely 30 days into the program.

Remember, you may be what you think. You may be what you eat. But you are most assuredly what you practice...

For a month now I have also been practicing the Labyrinth. I started by twice walking the labyrinth on a large floor in the National Cathedral in Washington (home to me) and have followed it daily in a small hand-held replication. I did not purchase the little silver labyrinth with any expectation of developing it into a meditation (I purchased it because I thought it would be lovely in a planter). But now I move through the labyrinth in a daily meditation with this palm-size version of that found in Chartres. Sometimes I am silent. Sometimes I weep. I am inside my Life and inside my Self. I am writing an article about the experience of the labyrinth and will let you know more about that later...

I practice healthful eating. To be true, this did not happen overnight. In fact, this represents a lifetime of struggle to find my footing. But with the demonstration of conscious friends, with the consultation of a nutritionist, and with the incorporation of South Beach recipes, my life has become a practice of healthful eating. I could not have imagined how much peace I would discover to have a life without craving. And without white sugar and flour I no longer live with constant craving. I start my day with a 3.4 mile walk and I now end it with a session of free weights. This practice contributes to incredible peace.

I don't want to write so much in one day that I begin to lose my readers. So I will write more about daily practice at another time.

Choose carefully what you practice. And be sure to practice what you practice.

Learn more about Sharon Salzberg at http://www.dharma.org/teachers/sharon/index.htm

Contact my nutritionist, Tim Kuss, for consultation at 303-703-3772

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