Meditation and family life, these two can seem like an oxymoron. Meditation brings to mind introspection, reflection, deep thought, and quiet time; words that don’t seem to have any relationship to family life.
Besides, who has the time to meditate during family life? So much to get done. So much to maintain. Smart phone alarms keeps beeping with reminders of more things to remember to get done.
Yesterday when picking up my son at ultimate frisbee, I bumped into the mother of one of his classmates who ended up thanking me profusely for informing her of open house dates and application deadlines for some High Schools her son is interested in. It was at the top of her list until she had gotten side swiped by a night mare home renovation. She dropped the ball on the High School investigation, and, got no satisfaction from her home improvement. She was totally exhausted from cleaning up fine dust particles and then rushing to paint the entire basement so it would be done in time for the holiday visit. We all know this scenario. Things don’t go according to plans. She said she just kept thinking about where she could go and how she could get away.
Finding Stillness Within
Rather than running away from our busy daily life, we can learn to incorporate meditation within it. This process is not difficult, or time consuming. Like learning any new skill there are a few basic guidelines, but no special aptitude, disposition, or body type is required. By investing a short amount of time to work with our mind in a particular way, and then just trying to remember why we have decided to work with our mind in a that way, we will see change happen quite quickly. Meditation is not a physical action, but a mental action, a way of thinking that has the ability to make us peaceful even when outer circumstances are not going the way we would like them to go. We can learn to cultivate and maintain positive states of mind like patience and love through meditation that allow us to face the challenges of family life with a calm and balanced mind.
Blueprint for Disaster
Yes it is true, on occasion, all the stars do line up and the outside world accords with our inner wishes; we manage to get what we want, and people actually do behave, but is this chance happening a reliable foundation for building a happy life? This is not an uncommon way of living, just waiting, and hoping that somehow it all works out. I think of this default as a blueprint for disaster, a gamble that puts us in a reactive mode, cleaning up one big mess after another. Naturally this way of living leaves us feeling exhausted and wishing to get away.
If we think of the benefits of learning to incorporate meditation into our family life, or any busy life, it is not hard to see that a little effort on our part has the ability to really go a long way. Rather than reacting to stress and difficulty as they arise, we can learn ways to prevent their build up. Not only will we be happier, calmer and more balanced, but our family will also appreciate and be delighted with the change.
Post by Sharon Lovich, teacher of our Meditation in Asheville class
Before Sharon moved to Asheville in 2011, she volunteered as the Education Program Coordinator for several years at Kadampa Meditation Center New York, where she also guided retreats and taught classes. Today, Sharon is a part of KMC South Carolina’s Foundation Program and teaches our Asheville branch class. Sharon and her husband have one son.