February 18, 2011
I haven't sat yet today. It's so nice outside I thought that I might just count my pleasant stroll to lunch as some walking meditation. Although, I'm sure that it doesn't qualify—I was somewhere between autopilot and mindful. I definitely wasn't focusing my attention on my feet and legs, as Sharon instructs us to do in Real Happiness when she invites us to walk "as if your consciousness is emanating from the ground up." However, I also wasn't lost in thoughts of future and past, like I so often am. I saw the man with headphones, shouting angrily at his own reflection in a window (impressive, I know, noticing a screaming lunatic). There was also the Dorrito bag in the tree bed on the corner, the incessant honking of a taxicab. In New York, one is always surrounded by more than enough grit and grime to think "This is a dirty world," but today I was thinking more "What a wonderful world" so maybe this meditation is doing something for me. Or maybe it was just the weather. Sure there was the screaming man, the littered streets, and the honking cab, but I was more in tune with the good stuff: the smiling dog-walker, the laughing doormen, the way the light hit an old building.
You've got to take it all—good and bad—simply because that's all there is. Today I felt like the lawyer that Sharon tells us about in Real Happiness. He said to her:
I, a noted curmudgeon, find that I'm very grateful for things like a breeze or the sun on the back of my neck. The other day I made it a point to pat attention to the sun and the wind, and how good they felt, as I walked from my office to a meeting that could have been tense. I arrived in a pleasanter frame of mind, more open to hearing the other person's point of view. The meeting went much better than I'd expected. They don't teach sun and wind in law school.