1: Emotions (8:30am) 30 min
We began by choosing an emotion we were feeling that morning to focus in on, & to reflect on that emotion. I chose “anxiety.” One thing about anxiety, as I assume is the case with many emotions (particularly ones that are habitual or recurring) is how many stories & memories that feeling manifests. So, rather than just feeling anxious, you start to build all these narratives & reflect on all these memories & have all these thoughts that are totally irrelevant to what you’re actually feeling in that moment, & why you’re feeling it. Rather than just allowing yourself to feel the anxiety, & to let it pass, you build & build — you dive down this rabbit hole that becomes so hard to get out of. If you’re feeling anxious, allow yourself to feel anxious. Take a few deep breaths. You are not alone. Understand the manifestation for that anxiety. & remember that this moment of anxiousness is an independent moment. & that this moment, like any other moment, will pass.
2: Intentions (7:45am) 30 min
The teacher spoke a lot about his own life. That he’s always felt like an outcast & reserved. He didn’t feel like the traditional path made sense for him. & he allowed himself to conform to that reality, to believe that he then could not succeed in society, & to hide in the shadows. In part, the practice of zen buddhism / zen meditation — one that is very focused on silence & stillness & posture — had helped lead him to a better understanding of his intention & his path in life. Other classes have been less about this stillness & silence, they have been more flexible. I am new to meditation, so I’m not going to judge this practice. I need more… practice. What I gained from the class was this — the only certainty is this moment, the only certainty is this breath. The truths in this world are these — my eyes are hazel, the floor beneath you is hard, the air around me is cool. & so on. Thoughts are not truths, they are just thoughts. They rise & fall, come & go. If things are feeling uncertain, focus on this moment, focus on this breath. Over & over. & then every moment becomes a little more certain.
3: Gratitude (8:30am) 30 min
This is a class I began looking forward to immediately when I saw it on the schedule. It’s important to be grateful for what we have, but it’s not always so easy to keep that in your focus. & that’s how the teacher began the class. It doesn’t mean that things can’t or don’t suck sometimes. It’s about finding those moments throughout the day, the week, the month, & the year, to be grateful for. A cup of coffee. Making the train right before the doors closed. A vacation. A new job. She spoke about the fact that we, as a society, too often focus on surplus — being extremely wealthy, or super fit — & bypass the idea of enough. & that gratitude for enough allows us to live & act purposefully. It’s funny — the simple act of searching for things I was grateful for made me feel better. It’s an exercise worth trying.