by Reiki Master Teacher Anne Aden
Yesterday I finally got together with my friend Pat. The last time we chatted was at the retreat in September. We exchanged Christmas presents. I gave her a mug I’d made and she gave me a magnifying makeup mirror. With a light. 15 times magnification. Jim said, “She must have seen something you couldn’t.” I can now see every wrinkle, errant eyebrow hair, and clump of mascara. This morning I got to work pulling, tweezing, and wrestling with every brow hair and whisker that heretofore I was blessedly unaware of.
As I finished up, I mentally listed where else I’d recently spent such concentrated time. It’s the start of a new year and I’ve already devoted hours, if not days, to organizing piles of bills and papers for our accountant and sorting through excess clothes in preparation for a big donation run.
This is the stuff of life and certainly necessary, but nourishing? Not so much. As I move more deeply into January, which tends to be a darker time for me emotionally, I’ve found more lightness in what is simplest – my meditation practice. The choices are minimal. I either sit on the cushion or I don’t. I either work at staying focused or I entertain myself with whatever thought wants attention. I either sit up straight or I lose attention and slouch. These are moment-to-moment choices. They are simple to make.
We are always practicing something. Each moment that I practice awareness of this moment, even as it effortlessly melts into the next, helps me recognize and accept impermanence and change, and leads to choice. This year I choose to sit on my cushion; choose to work at focus; choose to lengthen my spine.
Simple. And oh so much less painful then plucking wayward hairs, making sense of old receipts, or wondering why I still have tags on clothes that have been in my closet for years.
For a list of practices that include meditation and qi gong, visit the Tree of Contemplative Practices from the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society.