World AIDS Day is December 1st, and we’ve planned an event to commemorate 30 years of HIV/AIDS- I hope to see you there.
I’ve had some interest in my own daily practice of meditation and prayer, and several requests to share. So at the risk of serious spiritual over-exposure, I offer you the following:
I try for at least four periods of meditation and reflection every day. These aren’t hard, and are mostly linked with things that I do anyway. Since I often am awakened earlier than I plan by my care-giving duties, a consistent, early meditation time is not always possible. I work around this by using my exercise time, usually right after breakfast and the morning emails and other work- normally between 10 and 11am.
I have a treadmill and exercise equipment in my home because I’m usually required to stay in the house with Sars, but sometimes, when the weather’s nice and I have a helper, I’ll go for a run on the Copperway, a walking path close to my home. Wherever I’m doing it, the first half is usually all about the music- usually a Scooby Mix (see my blogroll to check them out!), high energy and motivating. The second half is mostly about silence and mindfulness. To facilitate this, I’ve adapted the Metta Prayer, or Loving kindness Prayer from the Buddhist Tradition. I’ve memorized it, so I can use it anywhere. I say it slowly and thoughtfully, sometimes out loud, sometimes silently to myself.
May I be filled with Loving Kindness.
May I be well in Body, Mind and Heart.
May I know that I am Always Safe.
May I be Peaceful and Truly Happy.
May I be filled with Loving Kindness,
May I be Free.
I pray this first for myself. I then say it for my loved ones, then for those I’m having trouble loving, then for my country, then for all beings. When I pray for others, I usually name them in place of the “I” in the prayer, or simply picture them in my mind. It creates in me a feeling of being connected to others and a sense of purpose.
I also have 12-20 minutes of formal meditation time as a goal every day. Sometimes I get it, sometimes I don’t. I will use my Metta Prayer, there, too, but often I am simply still and concentrate on my breathing and simply being aware and quiet.
I pray in the shower. It’s a place I can usually count on not being disturbed. I think about being purified and cleansed and the great gift of water, present as sacrament in so many traditions.
The fourth time is when I get into bed, and usually right after I call Ken to wish him goodnight. I think of at least three things I am grateful for in the day, and sometimes I think of the challenges and what they have brought me. It’s a good way to end my day, with gratitude and the knowledge that I am a blessed person. It often carries over into my dreams….
I’ve found this practice to be life-changing and centering. Let me know if you have a daily practice, or, if you feel like trying something I do, let me know how it’s going.
I really enjoy hearing from you!