An Evening of Meditation

I don’t know if this is sheer bliss or sheer craziness…but I came home from work today and gave a voice lesson to Claudia, ate dinner with my other half, followed by yoga class with Beeker, and finally meditation and dharma at the Martin de Porres Center with the Blue Heron Sangha.

Teaching voice is always meditation practice for me. I am never more in the moment than when I am observing and listening to a student sing…how she stands (and we spent a lot of time on that!), holds her head, forms the line of a phrase…it really makes the rest of the world disappear, very much like what happens when I am teaching music to a roomful of children (and I did a lot of that today too!).

Have you ever considered a meal as an act of meditation? The next time you sit down to one, consider it. Better yet, if you are the one to prepare it, start there. The chopping of the vegetables, the boiling of the water, the tossing of the greens…I became very mindful of all of this tonight as I was setting out everything for tomorrow’s breakfast of McCann’s Irish Oatmeal…the box, the brown sugar, the jar of cinnamon, the saucepan I use, the half-cup measuring cup…everything is ready for my morning ritual of oatmeal, which comes immediately after thirty minutes of silent meditation. Meditation after meditation! What a notion.

But then again, that’s what this post is all about, isn’t it?

Oh yes, back to dinner. Then yoga at Schiller Recreation Center with Beeker. I found it interesting how when she walked over to me tonight (me who asked for help at the beginning of the class with my shoulders) and gently placed her hands on my shoulders and my back, giving me the help I requested, and yet my initial reaction was to resist. After that split second, I found myself releasing the breath, and allowing the body to shift as she guided me. Be careful what you ask for…you may receive it!

Finally I hopped in my car, and made the fifteen minute drive to St. Mary of the Springs, where the Blue Heron Sangha meets. I was warmly welcomed at the front door of the Martin de Porres Center by a woman named Gretchen, who gave me a brief introduction to the shape of the evening. Since it was the fifth meeting of the month, there was a special practice of the recitation of the Five Mindfulness Trainings of Tich Nhat Hanh, followed by tea and some mindful discussion.

The best conversation was perhaps with one of the leaders, who informed me that most of the members do not consider themselves to be Buddhist, nor does Tich Nhat Hanh encourage people to abandon their native religious practices in order to practice Buddhism. What a notion! What I’ve been looking for all along. I told her that I had no intention of leaving my practice of Roman Catholicism, and she seemed to understand. So, I may have found a new home of support for meditation and study. Time will tell…

For now, it’s time for bed!

Be well, and at peace,

Phil

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