Sitting on the floor in front of a semi-circle of candles was such a peaceful interlude in a hectic time. Not only an opportunity to honour the earth, but simply sit, silently. No heat turned on, no music.
For more than half an hour I sat in meditation. My Progressive students and I have been deepening our meditation practice with a Buddhist meditation known as Tonglen.
In this practice you send out happiness to others and take in any suffering that others feel. You take in with a sense of openness and compassion and you send out in the same spirit. It’s a method for connecting with suffering —ours and every being’s; a method for overcoming fear of suffering and for dissolving the tightness of our hearts. Primarily it is a method for awakening the compassion inherent in all of us.
Earlier in the day I’d dropped off a small donation at Harvest House, towards the Easter meal they prepare. Sitting outside in the weak sunshine were several of the men who turn to the organisation for help.
In my meditation I tried to focus on them, the needs, their aloneness, their hopes. It’s not always an easy meditation practice; it can be very intense and demanding. And very powerful.
A little while after hearing 9 0’clock strike, I stretched my body in a couple of releasing Yin yoga postures then covered myself with a blanket for a short deep relaxation. Once up, switching on house lights, greeting the cats, I felt so light, empty in a very good way, as though I’d let go of a lot of heaviness. I read quietly for a while then slowly prepared for a shower and, so fortunately, a warm bed.
At least once a month I plan to commit myself to a peaceful hour of light and silence.