Three Things that Matter: A Daily Meditation Practice
Begin by taking a moment to give attention to your meditative posture:
You may be sitting (Possibly at work) in a chair with your head slightly tilted toward your heart. Your legs, hip-width apart, spine erect, feet flat on the floor, shoulders dropped with hands resting on your thighs, or palms up on your lap.
You may want to apply the same principles to your own seated meditation posture, with head slightly tilted, spine erect, knees below the waist when sitting. When kneeling in Varasana, keep knees hip-width apart. Once again, let your shoulders drop with hands resting on thighs or in mudra.
You may even choose to lay down (possibly in bed) while applying these same principles for meditation. Head slightly raised and tilted forward. Spine extended with legs hip-width apart. Allow your arms to be crossed over your chest/heart with palms down or parallel just a few inches from your sides with palms up.
Next, take three very deep and full breaths. Filling up the lungs with a slow but steady inhalation, followed by the emptying of the lungs with a slow but steady exhalation. Now, consciously just rest for a few moments in the awareness of your natural calm breathing.
Let's take a moment to reflect and meditate by using my words to get you started and then thinking about what the Buddha's meditative poem means to you personally. For each of us, these words will have a personal application. Simultaneously, we can all share in the ultimate truth they hold for us. Let's meditate on them and see what they mean to each of us personally.
"In the end
only three things matter;
how much you love,
how gently you live,
and how gracefully you let go
of things not meant for you".
- The Buddha
HOW MUCH YOU LOVE
Truly loving others can, at times, make us feel vulnerable. Our ability to love demands courage, our willingness to put aside all our fears and inhibitions so that we can freely open our hearts to others with love and compassion, which brings true meaning to our lives. We must regularly ask ourselves, "Where am I afraid?", "When am I holding back?", "Am I choosing to love the world?"
HOW GENTLY YOU LIVE
Our willingness to live gently is our willingness to live responsibly on this planet. We must take time to consider our connections with all people and all life. Doing so can bring true depth of purpose to our lives. Living gently in the world means living mindfully in the world. We do this by paying attention not just to our feelings, but the feelings of others, respecting everything and everyone around us.
HOW GRACEFULLY YOU LET GO OF THINGS NOT MEANT FOR YOU
Our mindfulness is our awareness, and our awareness is what enables us to be awake in the world.
Our awareness is the inner wisdom with which we are all blessed. If we take time each day to pay attention to it, our awareness can help us to have sound judgement in daily decision making the actions we take. Wisdom is knowing what's right and good for us while it grants us the maturity to let go of what is not. By taking the time to regularly meditate we cultivate our own innate quality of awareness that is the impetus for wisdom.
Knowing what is true and good for us, in this life, is essential for our own spiritual growth. This wisdom and knowledge is essential for our ability to love and live compassionately in the world. Spiritual maturity informs us that there are some things in this life that are not beneficial for us and for others and we must consistently work at cultivating the insight and courage we need to let those non-beneficial things go. Just don’t be too hard on yourself in your efforts to let go. In this, we are all one and the same, we are all a work in progress, and this is our work. This is our practice. This is what spirituality is all about.
When we truly love,
when we walk gently in this world,
when we are able to let go gracefully of things not meant for us,
that's when we begin to alleviate suffering,
that's when we come to fully realize that at the core of everything there is peace...