Growing with Impermanence

Meditating with a group exhilarated me.  Abbie asked if I would go to a meditation event with her and I’m so happy she did.  I dabbled in meditation over the summer and I had a great experience with it, so her encouragement was appreciated.

Her asking me caused me to go to the meditation class.  This phenomena of cause and effect relationships was the theme.  I was told it is called impermanence.  Nothing will last forever.  Change always happens.  Afterward, I felt free.  It helped broaden my view, taking my focus away from my current feelings of my life.  For that, I am grateful.

The experience contained 5 different parts: An introduction to meditation, a meditation on breathing, a lecture about impermanence, a meditation on impermanence, and a question and answer session.  Each part had some highlights I’d like to remember and share.

The introduction to meditation changed my view of the purpose of meditation.  I thought meditation was meant to help us relinquish the idea of control, but it is meant to change our focus of control.  We should attempt to control our inner environment (i.e. our thoughts), not our external environment.

The meditation on breathing helped me understand what is meant about having an object of meditation.  For me, the sensation of breathing, which I focused on the coolness of inhaling and the warmth of exhaling in my nostrils, was my object.  Paying complete attention to this object is the heart of meditation.

The lecture of impermanence solidified the concept of impermanence to me – we can’t control the changing of things.

The object of my impermanence meditation was the idea that I can change my environment to get new results.  I had images of me organizing my room and classroom while focusing on the object.  I also realized Abbie was the part of my environment which caused me to attend the event.  I’m glad she is still in my environment.

Lastly, the question and answer session supplied other objects to use while meditating on impermanence.  For example, death, joy, despair, our character, and thoughts could all be used as objects.

Growth is something we all like to feel.  By attending this event, I feel like I’ve grown as a person.  What has made you feel growth recently?

Escaping the Pit of Pessimism

I’ve been in a pit of pessimism lately.  I feel like I am alone. I feel insignificant.  I feel like trying is fruitless.  I feel like people don’t notice me.  We all experience these feelings from time to time.  But, what causes us to experience this feeling?  Where do these feelings grow?  Under what conditions enable us to have them?

Expectations.  Expectations with tough, out-of-my-control obstacles.  My pit of pessimism is just a grown-up version of a tantrum.  I am not getting what I want when I want it!  It’s funny viewing it from this perspective.  Here are some of my recent expectations digging the pit.

  • My students behaving because I am nice to them.
  • The “why” to teach something will be extremely obvious.
  • My students being able to perform experiments independently.
  • My necessity of being present at the science fair.

Each of these expectations are not in my control.  For example, I can’t control my students’ behavior for they live their own lives.  A set-in-stone purpose doesn’t exist for emotions cause purpose and we experience different emotions.  And, I can’t control the person who allowed my students to sign in and register without me at the science fair.  How can we avoid this pit of pessimism?

One thing that just worked for me (literally) was realizing I could not control these expectations.  I can influence, yes, but I cannot control.  Being mindful of what we can and cannot strongly influence would help avoid this feeling.  A second idea is to think about what gains we’ve made in getting closer to our expected outcome.  I will wrap this post up by doing just that.

My students speak to me openly which happens when they trust me.

I am conscious of the need of having a reason to learn something.

Some of my students have designed their own experiments.

I went to my first science fair as a mentor.

What have you achieved that gets you closer to one of your own expectations/goals/values?

 

Cleaning the Community

Abbie and I picked up 4.2 pounds of trash on our first “Community Trash Walk” of the year.  We were on our way to practice soccer and picked up trash on our way to and from the field.  Our biggest piece of trash was a hubcap.  The trash I found funny was dog poop bags.  The dog owners had the first step down.  At least it was in the bags!

Abbie modeling the pickup from our Community Trash Walk!

Abbie modeling the pickup from our Community Trash Walk!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We noticed a lot of trash in Duck Creek.  We may go play in the creek for our next Community Trash Walk.  Let me know if you would like to join or if you do one of your own!

Suffer for Others

Take a moment to breathe.  Watch what is happening in this moment.  Savor the peace of this moment.  We are living.  Celebrate it.

Today I heard bad news about my how my students acted toward the sub.  I should say I perceived the news as bad.  I was consumed immediately with thoughts of a battle I must have with my students.  But, I should be happy that I have something worth fighting for.

We forget that caring is the gift.  Without the care, objects are just pieces of matter.   Be happy whenever you care.

But, we must also know what we care about.  What was the cause of this fire?  Why was I suffering when I heard the news?  My immediate thoughts went to what I was going to do on Monday.  This means I was suffering because of the tough work I was going to have to do.  We are all egocentric at times…

I am suffering yet again.  My thoughts are now on the suffering of my sub.  I am conflicted on where my initial focus should have been: the suffering of myself or the suffering of the substitute.  But for now, I am happy that I care about the feelings of my sub.  Even if it was after thinking about myself…

I am curious: How much time do you consider the suffering of others?  This might be an idea to strive to do more of.

Create to Know

What do we know?  Only that which we pay attention to do we even consider.  But, do we know it then?  A reflection must be given in order to understand something.  This reflection is a creation of some artifact.  Our environment triggers memories of the past and a reflection adds an artifact to our environment.  Our artifacts tell the story of who we are.  They also are guides to who we will become.  This brings us back to our question, What do we know?  We know what we do; we do what we know.

Herein lies the power of writing our goals.  In doing so, we are creating an artifact for our environment.  It becomes a trigger, a reminder, for us.  The actions we take will change because of it.  We react to our environment!  Therefore, the best way to achieve a goal is to create artifacts in the environment representing it.  We know what we do; we do what we know.

How can we best do that?  In short, be specific and frequent in creating artifacts about your goal.  More on that to come…

~Breathe~Orient yourself~Take a step~