What have I learned or experienced? I guess the biggest thing I have noticed as a result of this practice is that I am more aware of my automatic responses or thoughts to things and how easy it is to judge things and get caught up in negativity. As a result, I have been able to catch myself, reassess my response, and correct it before it gets going in the wrong direction. It has been interesting for me to see how easy it is to automatically assign attributions to objective data or interpretations to feeling tones that come up in the body without slowing down and thinking things through.
Reflecting upon this experience, I think, if we slow things down we have better control of how we think, feel, respond, and what we create in our universe. We have a deeper and more profound ability to choose to do good rather than harm. According to Rick Hansen in Buddha's Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom, this is the beginning of virtue.
“By virtue of being human, each of us has the capacity to choose, to change, to grow.”
And to thrive, may I add!
“The secret of meditation is simple: you become what you meditate on. When you use an inspirational passage every day in meditation, you are driving the words deep into your consciousness. Eventually they become an integral part of your personality, which means they will find constant expression in what you do, what you say, and what you think.”
– Eknath Easwaran