My morning routine is to get up and do my meditation and then do some exercise. I listen to an inspirational playlist while I exercise and after my meditation this is sometimes a great opportunity for insight and a sense of freedom and space in my mind, especially when I go on the cycle machine. When I go on the running machine, it is generally an opportunity to observe a subliminal reflex telling me to stop immediately, but I am generally able to refrain from following that reflex and keep going, albeit with some reluctance and struggle. This subliminal reflex message arises with a feeling of such authority, it is difficult sometimes not to follow it and my usual habitual pattern. But the playlist definitely gets me into a green zone of safeness and joy from which it is much easier to refrain.
Music has been there for me my whole life, whenever things have been tough. Soft Cell and Japan in my teenage years, when I often felt isolated and misunderstood. The Smiths and the Cure supported me through my time at university and then many other bands. I used to be quite a music snob, but over the years have relaxed! When people or circumstances fail me, music never has. Sometimes I think that it is a kind of a weakness and that I am terribly ‘attached’ to this support. In reality, we all need some supports to get us through the ups and downs of life and there are worse things than music. We need a raft to get us to the other side of the river and music is a key part of my raft and I can leave it behind once I get to the other side. It will be a while though as I am only just dipping my toes in the water.
Earlier in the week, I was on my cycle machine and the Stereophonics song ‘Maybe tomorrow’ came on – I love that song and have written about it in my blog before. The chorus goes ‘Maybe tomorrow I’ll find my way home’ and the thought arose in my mind, ‘But I am home now’. Literally, I was at home, in my porch on my cycle machine looking out over the garden, but that wasn’t the point. I was present with my experience, as it was, in that moment, and in that sense I was home. I was reminded again, that I can be with the richness, openness and joy of every moment, if I just let be my discursive thought process, rest back into my body and just be present. A sense came to me of the interdependence of all life – it was a good moment (although I will not try and grasp after it again). We can all do this when we remember, but so often we forget, caught up in the stories of our lives and our selves. Often, this experience comes upon us in the face of beauty, a vast sky, a smiling face, a soaring bird, but as our mindfulness practice develops these moments occur more often.
When my daughter was a baby, I sang songs to her and the favourite song I sang to her was a song by the band James, called ‘Sit Down’. The theme is of us all coming to sit down together in sympathy, as our imperfect selves ‘in love, in fear, in hate, in tears’. Since it was first released (back in 1989) it has been a favourite and it really resonated with me this morning, as I have been working on our new membership website. It reminded me of my heartfelt aspiration to try to do more to bring our community of practitioners together – so that none of us feel alone and so that we all feel supported.
Now that I have moved I have a more reliable internet signal and so can be more involved in the online membership teachings. I am facilitating a session online tomorrow evening for our membership on the ‘On duty/off duty’ practice from the Insight training. The new membership site should open on 27th March and I sincerely hope that the discussion forums and practice groups will take off – you can even book an online meeting on Zoom with your fellow members and friends. For more information about the membership (if you are not already a member), click here. If you are a member, then I look forward to connecting soon via the new site. Jane will be in touch with more news about it soon.
Then the next song that came on was an old Coldplay song called ‘Brothers and Sisters’, with the lyric ‘Brothers and sisters unite, its the time of your life’. Do you notice a theme? Alone there is little we can do, but united together we can be a force for good in our world. We can support each other to spread the values of mindful compassion, to be sensitive to the difficulties in our lives and in the world and make a difference. This all comes from our practice together.
I usually sit in the morning between 6am and 8am (often not for the whole of that time) and it supports me to think of all the others who are also doing their morning practice. So please, brothers and sisters, sit down next to me. We can all have a sense of common practice together in our different locations, however we are, in love, in fear, in hate, in tears, sitting amid our imperfection with compassion so that the magic of peace, flourishing and happiness can begin to happen (but no hidden agenda!).
So I look forward to you joining me in my practice tomorrow!
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