Friday, October 30, 2009

Finding the beauty of meditation

Even in the most chaotic and unappealing situations, you can attune yourself to a quality or dimension of beauty, if you try. Imagine that your mind is like a CD player, and you’re trying to tune in to a particular track. Or take one of those figure-ground puzzles. At first, you can’t even perceive the shape in the background. But as soon as you’ve seen it, you merely need to shift your awareness to see it again.
So, the next time you find yourself in an unpleasant place or circumstance — preferably not one with a strong emotional charge, because that might make this exercise too difficult — do the following:
  1. Take a moment to look for the beauty. You may notice a patch of green grass in the distance, or a bouquet of flowers on a table, or the laughter of a child, or an aesthetically pleasing piece of furniture. Or you may just notice a warm feeling in your belly or heart.
  2. Take a deep breath, set aside your stress and discomfort, and enjoy the beauty. Allow yourself to resonate with it for a few moments as you would with a favorite piece of music or a walk in the woods.
  3. Shift your focus back to the situation at hand and notice whether your attitude has changed in any way.
Know that you can shift your awareness in this way whenever you feel inclined.

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