Monday, October 1, 2007

AW Blogchain #11

Thanks, Jen, for the baton. I'll run like hell with it.

Wow! To this point you guys have blown me away. Though some of this chain has been relatively light-hearted, much of it has dug deep into some very sensitive areas: obsessiveness, dysfunction, psychological damage ... with a few teaspoonfuls of depression tossed in to add some emotional spice. What I never saw, however, was hopelessness or weakness.

What causes our distresses? Is it our upbringing? Our insecurities? Our physical appearance? All of the above and much, much more? Depending on our spiritual views and level of education, we all have our own theories.

I am a practitioner of mindfulness meditation. This involves sitting in a quiet, peaceful place and watching my inhalations and exhalations. But it goes much deeper than that. The mindful meditator watches not just the breath but everything that comes within his or her vision, including the full gambit of emotions: love, hate, jealousy, anger, fear. And what he or she eventually learns is that all things are impermanent.

All things.

If something is impermanent, is there really such a need to sweat it?

At the height of meditation, when the frenetic inner workings of the mind have been silenced, there arises a joyous peacefulness that renders all else meaningless. At our core is something lovely and grand. And each and every one of us, regardless of our circumstances, contains this grandness. It is, in truth, who we are. Everything else is illusion.

For anyone who might like to learn the basics of mindfulness meditate, check out this book. Regardless of whom you are or what you believe, meditation can help ease your pain and unclutter your mind. It's like exercise for the mind.

A wise man once said:

“In the end
these things matter most:
How well did you love?
How fully did you live?
How deeply did you let go?”

Your turn, Gillian.

Virtual Wordsmith

(The Blog Formerly Known as) Taosbound

Virginia Lee: I Ain't Dead Yet!

Kappa No He

Playing With Words

A Thoughtful Life

Mad About Kites

Confessions of a Fat Chick

The Death Wizard Chronicles

Food History

A View From The Waterfront


Shauna Magill said...

A wonderful post, Jim. Although I don't actively practice meditation (I have the average American attention span, what can I say?), I do know that the thoughts you have expressed have often helped me.

I am Taoist and it teaches you to fully embrace a feeling. REALLY feel it. Then let it go. It doesn't matter, it will always pass. Return to center and you'll always perform best.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of stress in my life at the moment (It happens, I suppose, when you're migrating to another country), and I tend to forget to "come back" to center. Thank you for the reminder. Great post :)

Kappa no He said...

Here! Here! I remember back in high school when I tried to buy every book on Buddhism out there and it wasn't so hard to do. There really wasn't much written. These days though there is sooo much Buddhist literature that I tend to cling (bad Buddhist!) to my old favorites. The one you recommended looks very good. I'll have to pick it up.

I love that enormous quiet place that comes from meditating.

Virginia Lee said...

My mom has always been a practitioner of mindful meditation without realizing that is what she does. Well, she didn't until I pointed it out to her. I have a hard time finding that quiet place in myself. It's why I write. I find my peace that way.

Well typed, Jim. Thanks for joining us! I always enjoy your posts.

Jim Melvin said...

Thanks, everybody, for your great comments! I was afraid I had come off too preachy, which was not my intention.

VirtualWordsmith said...

My favorite place to center is the beautiful cemetery on the hill behind our local Catholic church. I walk or drive up there, and sit for as long as it takes to be calm and hear my inner voice. I had forgotten about meditation for a few years, and now that I've rediscovered it, I am embracing it.

Harbormaster said...

I agree that there should time in your life to reflect on things. Thanks for the comments on the waterfront, I agree wholeheartedly. It's good to see the participation in this chain...


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About Me

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Clemson, SC, United States
I was born in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., but grew up in St. Petersburg, Fla. I graduated from the University of South Florida (Tampa) in 1979 with a B.A. in Journalism. I now live in South Carolina near the Blue Ridge Mountains, a pleasant setting for writing, to say the least. I was an award-winning journalist at the St. Petersburg Times for twenty-five years and I currently work at the Charlotte Observer. I am married with five daughters.

The author

The author
Jim Melvin, a veteran journalist, debuts as novelist.