February 03, 2011

Day 3: The Great Meditation Challenge

Managing the magazine means I’m always looking forward, mapping out the calendar, checking the upcoming press schedule, assigning due dates. Often I find that my thoughts are 2 steps ahead of my actions. I love planning out each issue of the magazine, but sometimes I can get caught up with all my advanced preparations and forget about the present, the here and now. Yesterday as we sat, I found my mind wandering to the pages of my calendar, visualizing upcoming months and mapping out the next few issues.

Then this morning, before I began my meditation, I was reading through the through the “Practice Preview” of the Week 1 Chapter of Real Happiness I came across the following passage:

As meditation moves us toward wholeness, we discover a strong center, an inner store of mental and emotional strength that was once lost to us. Many people who practice concentration to steady their attention use the same word to describe the feeling it gives them: empowered. Once we have a sense of a center, we can more easily withstand an onslaught on overstimulation, uncertainty, and anxiety the world launches at us without getting overwhelmed. We’re stronger because we not only see more but also see more clearly. When your attention is diffused, it’s like a broad, weak beam of light that doesn’t reveal much. Concentration brings the weak beam down to a single, sharply focused, supremely bright, exponentially more illuminating point.

I took these words with me to the cushion, and though I still found my thoughts turn towards planning—the May issue articles, an upcoming roadtrip, my mother’s birthday dinner tomorrow evening—I found that refocusing my attention to my breath I felt more centered and empowered. I returned to my desk feeling slightly more whole--ready to take on the future with my feet (and mind) more firmly planted in the present.

Visit the Tricycle Book Club here to download your copy of Real Happiness today and discuss your own experiences taking the 28-day meditation challenge.

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