I am glad I switched my mediation mantra to something in English. If you want to get something out of it, I guess it makes sense to reflect on something in your own language. Who knew? Anyhow, what I have found just in the few days I have been focusing on the St. Francis invocation is that when I am out and about in the crowded public and get frustrated with people, as I sometimes do, the words to the quote I am meditating on come up and help me put things in perspective and remind me of my renewed chosen purpose.
For example, my greatest challenge these days is right before my once-a-week 8:15 pm yoga class begins. I get there early so I can stretch a bit and then just be at peace. The class is crowded and often there are many new people there. It is the end of the day. I am a bit tired and less patient than usual.
Consequently, I struggle to keep my sense of internal peace. In this late and often overcrowded class, many seem to disregard all the nicely designed posters which state the studio's practice rules: 1) Silence in the Yoga Room (never happens), 2) No Cell Phones in the Yoga Room (never happens; instead, we get texting, checking email, and phones ringing right up until class begins and sometimes even after it begins), and 3) Please Make Sure Your Bags Are Not in the
Yoga Room But in the Locker Rooms (never happens; the back of the room looks like a teenager's messy closet). The teachers periodically remind us of the rules. No one listens. Hence, I (at least in my mind) become a "Yoga Nazi." I grumble; I complain; I sigh. Not a good way to start out the class.
What I found last Thursday night before class is that when internal grumblings and rumblings started up within my mind, rather than letting them go on and on and allowing myself to get frustrated, I was able to acknowledge and notice my emotion, and then my mind immediately brought up a phase from the passage I had been meditating upon earlier in the day: "May I be an instrument of peace. May I not so much seek to be understood as to understand." This permitted me to step back and take a different and more compassionate perspective not only on others in the class but with myself as well. I could then decide how I wanted to think about the situation and respond. It was nice. I felt calmer and more in control. I definitely plan on making meditation a regular part of my life. I can see it bringing more goodness and vitality into my life and relationships. I highly recommend it to all.
For more on self awareness see: 7 Steps to Develop Awareness.
“Nothing can be more important than being able to choose the way we think.” -EKNATH EASWARAN
Evelyn Schmechtig-Cochran, LMFT #33292
Psychotherapist and Relationship Specialist