By Janet Solyntjes //
In my early years of meditation training I was unable to sit still for long, maybe five minutes, before I would shift my body with hopes of improving my practice. My body hurt, my mind was impossible, and I was crawling out of my skin much of the time. My practice revealed glimpses of “calm abiding” and “dignity,” but it was tough going!
My teachers reminded me that practice was a breeding ground for courage. Courage, I was told, becomes the seedbed for nurturing our deepest aspiration for a meaningful life and for a sane society. It takes courage to be present to the unknown, to touch what is frightening, to let go of what is familiar, and, once again, open. Now I remember to bring my heart to the cushion ~ how else will I cultivate bravery?
Three Minute Practice: The Courage of this Moment
Ask yourself this:
- What would it take for me to fully inhabit the experience of being human right now?
- Can I feel the sensations of my body?
- Am I being tugged about by my internal narrator and not realizing it?
- What am I really feeling in this moment?
After reading through the list of questions then do nothing. Simply be. After a while, go through the list of questions again. Now once again, simply be. After three minutes drop the exercise and proceed through your day.
Whatever you did during the three minutes required some level of courage (a willing and open heart) for it took you out of the habit of dis-attention into active self-reflection.
About the Author
Janet Solyntjes, M.A. is a senior teacher (Shastri) in the Shambhala-Buddhist tradition and has offered mindfulness courses at Naropa University, Omega Institute, Hollyhock, Shambhala Mountain Center, and in corporate and non-profit workplaces. A practitioner of mind-body disciplines since 1977, she is a Certified MBSR Teacher and faculty member of The Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts. Janet leads MBSR courses in Colorado and offers mindfulness seminars and retreats in the U.S. and internationally. She is the co-founder of Boulder-based The Center for Courageous Living and is a teaching faculty member of the Engaged Mindfulness Institute.