Musings of the InsightLA teachers
Yesterday was Thanksgiving, a day of feasting and gathering together. For indigenous people, it’s a day of mourning. Whether celebrating or grieving, we have this special day dedicated to gratitude, a chance to express how grateful we are for so many things; for friendship, family, and love.
At InsightLA we’re grateful to you, our generous and beloved community. And on this holiday more than ever, I’m grateful for the teachings that free our hearts, and show us how to observe thoughts and feelings as they form and dissolve in the stream of consciousness. Here’s why:
Ten days ago, in an excess of enthusiasm at the end of a Tabata class, I did a sideways leap, tripped, and slammed hard enough into the cement sidewalk to fracture a vertebra. The treatment is to ‘decrease activity’, in other words, to stop and rest (not my natural state). In pain during the first days, I could only see this injury as unfortunate. Disappointed, I struggled to keep on doing.
Today, having had to let go of plans and all busyness, my perception has changed dramatically. The facts are the same –- injury, healing -- but now I’m calmly resting, listening to the sounds of life outside as the world goes by, surrounded by care and support – most fortunate. Lying on the couch propped by pillows, I watch shadows and light slant across the floor with the turning earth. This heart is peaceful and still. You know from your own mindfulness practice that when we stop resisting what is, the joy of just being can be the greatest gift of all. Giving thanks!
Did you know about the Veterans Day Moment of Silence Act? It was enacted to encourage two minutes of silence nationwide on each Veterans Day in honor of their service. This Act is definitely an outlier, for it was unanimously passed by both houses of Congress! President Barack Obama signed it into law on Oct. 7, just a year ago.
On Saturday we remember all the people who fought in the many wars of our history; this year for the first time, Military Families are included with Veterans. For the past seven years, InsightLA trained staff at area VA hospitals in mindfulness and self-compassion practices designed especially for our Veterans. The mission was to create a kinder atmosphere in the hospitals, and to offer our Veterans powerful mindfulness-based practices for healing their trauma and isolation. We care.
No matter what you or I think about war, or who goes to fight our wars, or what defines honorable service, we can understand the longing to live for a purpose bigger than just ourselves. America’s warriors are volunteers. They choose to put their lives on the line to serve and protect others – us! Wherever we stand on the increasingly divided political spectrum, we can separate our passionate, wildly divergent beliefs from simple respect for selfless service, personal sacrifice and love of country. Our mutual respect is an honorable path to peace.
I love this Moment of Silence Act — two whole minutes of national mindfulness! Two full minutes of being together in silence as a nation to appreciate our shared humanity and offer respect. Two minutes a year…imagine if we could extend this to two minutes a day. When we practice mindfulness together, little by little we realize that we and our beautiful country, our magnificent blue planet, and our magical, heart-breaking world are not separate. With more and more minutes of loving awareness, we begin to see how all our diversities are part of a larger whole, and feel the stunning unity connecting us in all our multiplicities. We, too, can inspire ourselves to live with the intention to serve, protect, and take care of life – life in the form of you, of me, of all beings everywhere, without exception!