I read Sharon Salzbergs "Real Happiness" several months ago, and liked it a lot. I found it to be down to earth, simple and very useful for anyone new to meditation or looking to refresh on the basics. I had already been meditating for almost two years, so I can't say the book was new information for me. I already have a daily practice, and I think the book is primarily aimed at someone looking to get started and build the habit of a daily meditation practice.
That said, I really liked the format of the book, and I immediately bought a copy for a friend who had just started thinking of meditating. I had it drop-shipped to her and she LOVED it! She really found it to be a very easy to read and accessible book. She's not a Buddhist, and is completely new to meditation, so this was a great review coming from her!
I've since recommended it to all of my fledgling Sangha members who are trying to get a regular (regular being the key word) practice going.
|Two Hands Sangh|
Anyhow, last night was the first meditation I had in February and I decided to take part in the challenge. It was interesting and boring as usual. I sat down at 9pm, checked in with the #OMCru (Online Meditation Crew) on Twitter, then launched my Insight Timer app on my iPhone and began my sit.
Almost immediately I had one of those interesting little events that one can experience. As mentioned at the opening of this post, I felt as though I was spiraling backward through blackness, or space, in a slow lazy spiral. In my mind, I could sort of *see* my thoughts - or at least what I perceived as my thoughts - staying where *I* was. It was a very strange thing that I have not experienced before. But the moment I noticed that this was happening, and thought "COOL!" the whole thing slowly evaporated leaving me just sitting there with my eyes closed watching my thoughts come and go as usual. Oh well. One of the things I have read in nearly every book on the subject is not to get attached to these odd little things. They are just part of the mind and ego doing it's thing. Or, as Jack Kornfield's teacher Ajahn Chah told him (from a story in "Bringing Home The Dharma") "Good. Something else to let go of!"
The last half of my sit went by with the usual monkey mind and mindfulness and when it was done, I decided to post a quote from the book "Real Happiness" on my Tumblr site and I also decided that I would blog daily here during February about my daily practice. I imagine most of the posts will be a lot shorter, as my sits are usually more mundane.
Mostly, I hope that anyone reading this might have some curiosity about meditation and choose to join the Meditation challenge. Just because you're late, doesn't mean you can't start! Much more important than the challenge, however, I would highly suggest the book, and I would also HIGHLY suggest finding support wherever you can and getting a daily practice going. The Online Meditation Crew is a PHENOMENAL resource for support, especially if you don't have anyone to practice with in the real world. The folks in the OMCru are more than willing to welcome you and support you with tweets or Facebook or G+ posts. I've made some great friends, even *IRL* friends through it, and it's an invaluable resource you can tap in to for support. If you do take the challenge, and you do use Twitter - perhaps in conjunction with the OMCru - be sure to use the hashtags #RealHappiness and #OMCru to find all the folks doing the same!
So…go to the site, sign up for the challenge, and don't just do something…SIT THERE! ;-)