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Removing Obstacles to Being More Peaceful.

February 22, 2015

One of my favorite quotes, attributed to Martin Luther, is “I have so much to do that if I didn’t spend at least three hours a day in prayer I would never get it all done.” Martin Luther King Jr. echoed his sentiment:“I have so much to do today that I had better spend another hour on my knees,”

What I think this embodies is the idea that we are all so busy rushing around trying to check things off our to do lists or just keep our heads above water, that we forget to spend time on the care of our souls. I once heard prayer explained as talking to the gods, and meditation as listening to them. It’s easy to rationalize that we don’t have enough time to meditate or that we “aren’t able to,” that quieting our minds is too difficult.

I have a tiny statue of Ganesha in my shower sitting on top of my pumice stone (and one might consider how the pumice stone is metaphorically related to all this). This morning I found myself chanting while I showered “Ganesha Sharanam Sharanam Ganesha.” This got me thinking about hto insert small moments of sacredness in our day.

Chewing can be a great way to meditate. Really paying attention to what we’re eating, tasting it, savoring it, masticating it until it’s really pulverized. They say, “You are what you eat.” Take that seriously – pay attention to the nutrition that is entering your body, that is creating your YOU today.

At night when I’m waiting for my child to fall asleep, I sit on a prayer bench in my room and silently chant “Nam myoho renge kyo” for ten to fifteen minutes before I go back to check on him. The way I think of this chant is the lotus grows in the mud; the deeper the mud, the more beautiful the flower.

A lot of people shy away from meditation because they think they “can’t do it.” The only can’t in meditation is not showing up. You aren’t doing meditation wrong if you can’t clear your mind. You need only sit to meditate and notice that you are thinking and then try to let the thoughts float away like incense smoke. Sometimes it helps to light incense to remind you that thoughts are like smoke.

If you find yourself waiting in line or at a doctor’s office, close your eyes (or keep them open if it’s not too distracting) and listen to your breath. Follow your breath until it’s your turn.

Watch less television. It sucks up an amazing amount of time. It’s a way of checking out. I’m inviting you to check in.

See if you can find even five minutes a day to add a little meditation into your life. Your soul will thank you.


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