"Although attempting to bring about world peace through the internal transformation of individuals is difficult, it is the only way." This just so happens to be the very first line of the Bretony Book Club book I'm currently reading! This quote is from H.H. the Dalai Lama in the foreword of Peace Is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh. This book, in particular, came highly recommended (and was actually given to me by my brother-in-law), as a MUST read. I was given a few different choices of books from his personal library to bring with me back to NYC, but for some reason, I chose the one about peace. I like to pride myself on being a peaceful person. At times, it may even appear to the outside world that I'm a huge stoner due to my extremely zen-like demeanor (I am in fact, NOT a huge stoner). This is not to say that from time to time, I can be very Un-zen in certain situations (hence, Ann). Anywho, the point of today's post I suppose is to bring a bit of peace to an ever chaotic world every once in a while.
So there happens to be a bit of a backstory, (but not that much of a backstory, because this happened last week). Last week, while I was visiting Seattle, Holly and Tony took brought me along to a certain thing they do all the time. They described it sort of as a meditation space where everybody sits in silence for a while, and then a speaker speaks on a certain subject...usually about some sort of mindfulness or meditative practices. I was a little confused, to be honest, but I like trying new things, so I went! We got to the building (the Seattle Insight Meditation Center), and it was pretty freakin' big! Had to take my shoes off when I got inside. It was set up sort of like a church. There were a few rows of chairs on each side of the room, all facing the speaker who sat up front in the middle. There was also a space in the front near the speaker where people could sit on the floor on cushions (I kinda wanted to do that, they looked kinda comfy. But alas, I sat in a chair like a typical Westerner). To tell you the truth, it reminded me a bit of yoga class. When we all got settled in a ready to begin, the room got silent as everyone sat silently in meditation. Me personally, I usually can't turn my brain off, so I was switching back and forth between brief naps, opening my eyes to look around at everyone, and thinking about everything in the universe. It was kinda nice! Especially after being an overstimulated tourist all week. It was good that I had a specific time, place, and setting to just sit, relax, and...BE.
The meditation part lasted a whopping 40 minutes! After preparing our minds, seemingly to better receive what the speaker was about to say, we listened to about an hours worth of talk. Now, honestly, during this talk, my mind was also often drifting from time to time. I can't help it! I tuned in every once in a while when he said something that penetrated my consistent tangents. I actually found the entire video online (my sister asks a question at the 1:05:29 mark), it's a bit long, but I got some good stuff out of it all.
After we left the place, I thought a bit more about meditation. When I was younger, we had meditation as well, but it was all about God. I always associated it with something religious. Naturally, going to this place, made me bring up the subject of religion as well. There were Buddha statues here and there, and I was told that sometimes monks come to speak. To me, though, it didn't really feel religious at all. It felt more about trying to bring some sort of stillness to the restless world in which we live. This, in turn, got my mind racing even MORE.
Ironically enough people, the art of meditation is supposedly the practice of turning your brain OFF. Maybe I'm still a beginner, so I don't quite know how to do that yet. But it sounds like something I really do need to do every once in a darn while. The entire world is a very overstimulating place in which we rarely enjoy the present moment in which we are living. I heard a random statistic somewhere that said our brains spend about 70% of its time replaying memories and creating scenarios of perfect moments. It's true that people always seem to be either living in the past, or super anxious about the future. Can't we all just relax sometimes?? Let's relish in the fact that we are alive right now. Whatever happened has happened, whatever is going to happen next is going to happen regardless.
It's never a bad thing to think and use your brain, but sometimes I really do believe that even (over) thinking can be our own worst enemy. The more we begin to appreciate what is happening now all around us, the more we will be able to appreciate what is to come. It may even make us happier, and less annoyed people. I know it may seem hard to set aside a certain amount of time each day to just be still, but as the old zen saying goes, you should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day, unless you are too busy, then you should sit for an hour. Easier said than done, yeap, I know! From personal experience! Everything is a process folks. But remember, Peace IS every step! Now, I do know that this may be me creating a scenario of a perfect moment, but today is national pasta day, and I envision putting some amazing noodles in my mouth! Peace!
P.s. Last night I was out with Ashleigh for a bit at a hookah place, and across from us was a table of four very nicely dressed ladies, and one guy. From the moment everyone sat down, ALL of the girls were on their phones the ENTIRE time. Some were snap chatting away, looking at stories, looking at Instagram, one girl even face-timed someone! (I obviously had a very pristine stalkerish view.) The guy looked sad. This is a prime example of not appreciating the moment you are currently experiencing.
P.p.s. No, I'm not turning into a Buddhist, but I do agree with some of the practices. I feel as though it's ok to open your mind to things you probably wouldn't have due to a difference in religion. Speaking of, I should really do a post about religion on of these days. And politics!
P.p.p.s. Also, I am really entertaining the idea of becoming an online meditation instructor! If you see a video of me sitting in front of a camera in complete silence for 20 minutes, don't be alarmed!