As we enter this holiday season, may the continuity of your mindfulness and meditation practice grow ever stronger.
What we think, or daydream, or plan about matters. What we pay attention to in each moment matters. The brain’s non-stop, always-changing-ness is called neuroplasticity. And neuroplasticity means that each of us is totally, constantly open to revision. It means we can learn, grow, and transform through mindfully paying attention.
Meditation and Mindfulness Make All The Difference
“It was previously thought [that] our brains stopped growing, but now we know for sure, our brains (and thus who we are) changes every day as we experience new things (real or imagined).” ~Thomas DeMichele
That’s good news because even if one’s mind is plagued by negativity and depression, one can change. And, even if you have a sunny disposition, if you’d like you can learn to strengthen this quality in yourself. You can learn to share your joy.
The key takeaway here is that if we give our attention to the mind of distraction and pessimism as we go about our daily activities, then we are strengthening the qualities of distraction and pessimism in the mind. On the other hand, if we practice cultivating a mind of lovingkindness, we strengthen those qualities in the mind.
We intuitively know this about ourselves. And yet, when I’d like to make changes for the better in myself, it’s easy to forget that change comes hard, especially when I’m working on patterns of thought and personal bias.
The mind’s legacy is being passed on moment to moment
As the wonderfully down-to-earth meditation teacher Sayadaw U Tejaniya puts it, “So whatever you allow to live… in your mind… will… grow stronger and stronger because its legacy is being passed on. That is why if we want to cultivate meditation, if we want that to grow, we have to practice nonstop.”
Anything less than the intention to devote oneself to the continuity of mindfulness in daily life, on and off the meditation cushion, can weaken our resolve over time. It can undermine our work. The great Thai Forest monk and teacher Ajahn Chah said it this way,
“If you don’t maintain continuity of practice, you won’t see results, or only very minor ones. That’s still better than nothing. But not always. Without results, some people can get bored with meditation, and start to think it’s a waste of time. Other activities may come to seem more important, and they leave it behind them.” Ajahn Chah
Without Results Some People Think They’re Wasting Time
So, if you aspire to experience the fruits of a life of meditation and mindfulness, may the continuity of your practice—from the moment your eyes open in the morning, until they close in sleep at night—grow stronger every day.
Cultivating a life that is grounded in meditation is “one of continually trying to greet our experience, whatever it is, with mindfulness, lovingkindness, and compassion…” Sharon Salzberg
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We’re located in historic Gloucester which is about 40 miles north of Boston on Cape Ann. Cape Ann is on the far northeastern end of the North Shore of Massachusetts.
The steeple on the left in the photo is on the Gloucester UU Church. That’s where we meet.
I hope your life goes well this month!