Beginning AgainThis weekend is Easter, the time of the year when many traditions look to the agricultural calendar and celebrate renewal, rebirth and new beginnings. This year, though, it may seem a little strange celebrating the return of light when for many the future seems so uncertain.
The reality is that whatever may be happening we all have an opportunity at every moment to begin again. Thinking about the past, and 'how things were' won't help us. Trying to guess or predict an unknown future doesn't help. What we have is the now, and we can use the 'now' as a place and time to start again.
This is true for every aspect of our lives, but especially so for meditation. The wonderful teacher Sharon Salzberg says this:
"The critical element in meditation practice is beginning again. Everyone loses focus at times, everyone loses interest at times, and everyone gets distracted over and over again. What is essential, and also incredibly transforming, is realizing that we have the ability to begin again, without blaming or judging ourselves, without thinking we have failed, without losing heart, we can, and need to, constantly be beginning again."The wonderful thing about this is that we can apply this to wherever we are in our practice. While sitting, we can begin again when we get distracted. If our practice flags, we can begin again. And if we haven't practiced for years or decades, we can still begin again. No judgement, no need to criticise yourself, you just begin again.
There's an old saying that the second-best time to plant a tree is now (the best time being fifty years ago). Now really is all we have, and no mater what craziness there is in the world we can choose now to begin again, and to cultivate mindfulness.
The audio link below is for a fully guided meditation on beginning again. You can of course listen to it at any time, but a group of us have committed to press 'play' together at 7pm PT on Easter Sunday, 12th April 2020. You are welcome to join us if you wish.
Do feel free to forward this to fiends too. May you and your loved ones have a happy Easter,
If the above player doesn't work for you please try clicking here.
Photo by Artem Sapegin on Unsplash