Meditating Allows Me to Slow Down Enough

Christine Babson, Guest Author

Good morning. I’m happy to be able to give Shirley a break by taking over the meditation today but, as you can imagine, it is a bit daunting to be as eloquent and thought provoking as she is each and every day. But here goes:

I have meditated off and on since high school - techniques varied and that used to be somewhat disconcerting. But, as we’ve said so often in this group – there’s not being just one right way to meditate – and that’s good because I use most all of the techniques I’ve practiced over the years. To paraphrase what they advise in 12 -step programs: “I take what I like and leave the rest”

Whichever technique I use I find meditating allows me to slow down enough to really think about what I’m doing and ground me for what I’m going to do during the day.

I start each 15 minutes by concentrating on and counting my breathes. Most days I then scan through my body to find any areas of stress, pain or tension and visualize a light glowing in that area and feel it grow until the stress or tension is relieved. When my body and mind are calmed -which usually takes most of the meditation – I say a series of loving kindness statements directed to myself and then to others.

They are:

“May I be happy and healthy. May I be safe and protected. May I be strong and have courage and may I live my life with ease. “

Invariably I’ll also say the Serenity Prayer:

“Give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. The courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

But…. though I want to “live my life with ease” and though I crave “serenity” I find it so easy in these crazy times to feel discouraged, hopeless, and helpless. I despair about the many, many situations in our world that are beyond my ability to change.

So I started thinking about those things that I can change or, saying it another way, the things I can control and I came across a list of things compiled by Caleb LP Gunner of things we can control which I’d like to share:

What you can control…

Your Beliefs Your attitude Your thoughts Your perspective How honest you are Who your friends are What books you read How often you exercise The type of food you eat How many risks you take How you interpret the situation How kind you are to others How kind you are to yourself How often you say “I love you.” How often you say “thank you.” How you express your feelings Whether or not you ask for help How often you practice gratitude How many times you smile today The amount of effort you put forth How you spend / invest your money How much time you spend worrying How often you think about your past Whether or not you judge other people Whether or not you try again after a setback How much you appreciate the things you have.

Participants' Reflections:

  • Thank you for sharing the serenity prayer and the things I can do and for the things I have no control over. In this time in the pandemic and political unrest, how important it is to respond and not just react. There is a pause, a meditation breath I can take before I respond. I’m trying to go with love. It’s not easy but that’s what the serenity prayer means to me. If I stop and evaluate what I have control over, usually it boils down to I only have control over myself

  • Thank you so much . I love the list of all the things we can do. Last night I led a group on the Serenity Prayer and its not something I normally do or think about that often