I was blessed with many peaceful meditations, some moments of profound insight and a few fond memories of my Mother during Week 4 of my amazing eight-week mindfulness meditation journey.
This week’s daily practice was comprised of the “Breath and Body” meditation, and “The Three-Minute Breathing Space” meditation. Although this was my second week of practice with these two meditations, I still enjoyed a new and exciting voyage of self-discovery every time I meditated.
My Week 4 practice also included an eight-minute meditation entitled Sounds and Thoughts that proved to be enlightening for me. Let me share with you.
As I sat and listened to the soothing voice of my trusted guide, I spent a few brief moments paying attention to my posture and my body sensations. Once I was settled and grounded, I brought my attention to the breath.
After spending a few minutes with my breath, I turned my focus and attention to the many different sounds that were around me. I was amazed at the number of different sounds that I heard and where they came from when I paid attention.
While listening to those sounds, I took great care to listen without judgment or criticism and just accept the sounds exactly as they were.
Then I let the sounds that were surrounding me fade into the background and brought my awareness to my thoughts. My thoughts were of what I was doing right now, thoughts of past events, future hope and dreams.
I realized that these thoughts were having the same effect as the sounds that surrounded me. I was creating stories based upon the sounds I heard and that I was experiencing a variety of feelings and emotions based upon these stories.
It was at this point that I experienced what was for me a significant revelation.
I realized that being surrounded by my thoughts was essentially the same as being surrounded by sounds. The stories and scenarios that resulted in emotional responses were generated from thoughts that were not true.
Mindfulness meditation is hard work and requires discipline, but the rewards are profound. It helps me remain non-judgmental and avoid creating stories based upon untrue thoughts. It brings peace and calm to my life.
Mindfulness meditation enables me to be an observer of my thoughts within the present moment. When my mind needs clarity, I remind myself that the breath is always there to anchor me to the peace and calm of the present moment.
My “Sounds and Thoughts” meditation helped me understand that I am not my thought, and they need not control my emotions, feelings and actions.
During this week of profound realization, I was reminded of another moment of realization that occurred some 20 years ago.
It was shortly after my Mother’s sudden passing in 1993. I was sorting through her personal things, when I came across a small jewelry box. Removing the lid revealed a number of sentimental items from my Mother’s past. They included my first dog’s identity tags and a necklace that I bought her for Christmas when I was about 7 years old. I was deeply touched that she kept these things.
At the bottom of the jewelry case, I saw a round piece of green sponge. I then removed the sponge and found a folded piece of paper with a poem typed on it.
As I read the words, I knew that my dear Mother had placed that poem at the bottom of the jewelry case just for me. This short yet profound poem helped me come to terms with my Mother’s death. It also gave me understanding and meaning to what was happening in my life.
That piece of paper was lost and I do not remember the words, but I will always remember the title – “Look through another window, take another view”.
I always knew that my Mother was spiritually aware, even though she seldom made mention of it. She chose to let me grow at my own pace, but was always there to give me reassurance and guidance when needed.
Even after death, she was still there lending me a hand, helping me understand.
My Sights and Sounds meditation this past week gave me an understanding and meaning to what is happening in my life right now.
As for the future, my mindfulness meditation practice enables me to continue cultivating a deep stillness and peace within myself. Fully aware in the present moment, I will then be fully able to support my family and be of service to others.
The same can be true for you.
Thank you again to Professor Mark Williams and Dr. Danny Penman for writing the book that inspired me to start on my exciting eight-week Mindfulness journey.
You can find out more about their book “Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World” at http://www.franticworld.com.
Meanwhile, I look forward to starting Week 5 on Sunday and sharing my experiences with you in my next blog.
In closing, here is a poem that I wrote a decade ago. I hope that you enjoy the words.
World of Love
There is a world beyond this shore
A land where there’s no shame
With a life that’s free of guilt and fear
And a home where there’s no blame
There are hands that feed the hungry
And a soul that cares for the weak
With a heart that holds no secrets
It’s the world of love we seek
You may find it high on a mountain
In a city that’s next to the sea
This love that’s for a lifetime
The world that’s meant to be
It’s a love that has no boundaries
And a world that has no end
Seek love with pure intention
And you will find a friend
This world of love is everywhere
It’s right here for us all to see
And the love I feel for everyone
Is the love I found in me
John Murphy is a volunteer Program Leader with the University of Victoria’s Centre on Aging, based in Ladner, BC. He currently facilitates their 6 week Chronic Pain Self-Management workshops (2½ hour per week) available free of charge across BC, to adults and caregivers who are dealing with chronic pain.
For more information on our Chronic Pain Self-Management workshop and other free of charge workshops, follow this link to our website:
Other Self-Management workshop and programs include:
– Arthritis and Fibromyalgia
– Chronic Disease