As I mentioned last week, I am currently at my cabin in the north of Canada; moreover, I have been sharing space with a lot of people in a small house. My cabin is an 800 square foot wooden structure with three bedrooms, 4 teenagers, a set of grandparents, my brother and myself. Things are, you might say, cosy.
When I was speaking with a friend about our holiday living situation, she marvelled at my ability to cope with all of the different personalities, the wants and needs of teenagers, as well as two elderly grandparents who are used to their routine and the quiet of a child-free life moment. However, when I reflected on this, I realised that it wasn’t just about my coping skills, but also of those all around me.
For instance, I’ve watched my mother bite her tongue when my son left his wet swimsuit on the floor for the tenth time, my son get up unprompted to help with dishes, my brother cart the teenagers to and froe, making sure that they are having a great time, AND I’ve witnessed us all pitching in together at the laundromat, folding each other’s clothes so that we can get back out to the lake on time to make a pre-dinner swim.
Sure, there have been MANY tensions, frustrations and much chaos, but some-how we have all done what we can to, not only coexist, but to also have some fun and downtime.
One thing that I have found incredibly useful is the practice of resting in the midst of it all. Some of you who have taken our mindfulness courses may be familiar with this phrase. (For more information on our mindfulness training pathways, click here) It is the state of meditation where we have sat, settled, grounded and have come to a place where we are able to rest with a light touch of attention on the breath, while also being aware of all that is happening within and around us.
There have been many times that the noise level in my cabin, or in my car, or sitting on our dock on the lake has reached a fevered pitch, with all sorts of requests being called out for attention. And thankfully, there have been many times that I have found myself focusing on my breath as the noise and activity swirl around my head, (much like the millions upon millions of mosquitoes that plague this land do).
As I focus on my breath, I can hear and see all that is happening around me, but this also creates the space to refrain from reacting to it. If I was being grandiose, I might say that it is downright liberating. However, most times, it is simply a bit of a reprieve from the feeling of constant stimulation and engagement. And this is what meditation can be- a bit of reprieve from the constant engagement with thought. We rest in the midst of it all.
So, I thought it would be great to see if we can actually set an intention to take this resting in the midst of it all off the cushion, and see if we can apply that same technique of focusing a light touch of attention on the breath, whenever we find ourselves in places of noise, crowds and chaos as we move about the world. Can we rest in the midst of a difficult work meeting, a crowded bus, a park filled with children? Can we allow ourselves to experience a bit of reprieve?
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