Day #22 :: Contemplation :: 31 Days of Devotion

Welcome to your practice for Day #22! Today kicks off our theme for Week 4 :: Contemplation.

Today's contemplation practice centers around one of my favorite tales in Buddhist mythology: The Buddha inviting Mara to tea. 

Mara is often talked about as the big "baddie" in Buddhist mythology. He has fearsome names like "The Demon of Ignorance" and "The Lord of Delusion" and has a tendency to drop in unannounced --sometimes with a whole posse of demons in tow-- on a mission to throw the Buddha off of his path.  

It's a wonderful analogy for dealing skillfully with our own "demons", whether they present themselves as doubt, fear, shame, jealousy, anger, self-loathing... you name it. 

Los Angeles based illustrator and writer Yumi Sakugawa tells this tale with a twist -- she gives us 'how-to' instructions, instead -- in her charming book, Your Illustrated Guide to Becoming One With The Universe, which I read from to set up our practice. 

If you want to skip my introduction and get right to the action, you can forward the video to the 8 minute and 20 second mark. 

Just grab a comfortable seat, and perhaps a pen + paper to capture your own insights after meditation, and click the video above. 

I'll see you at the tea party. 

Day #23 :: Contemplation :: 31 Days of Devotion

Today, we're traveling onward with our theme for week #4:: Contemplation. 

As a lifelong bookworm, I have many favorite writers. Currently topping the list of "favorites" are Rebecca Solnit, Cheryl Strayed, and Miranda July, just to name a few. In that list, nestled right towards the top, is also today's contributing teacher, Patia Braithwaite

Patia isn't a meditation teacher, in the traditional sense, but her writing springs from the sort of self awareness and keen observation that is akin to a deeply meditative practice. 

Her work is honest, vulnerable, funny and insightful, and her writing-teaching style is warm and clear.  Plus, it's not every day that one of your literary crushes is also your friend; all reasons why I knew she had to be a part of this series. 

Today we'll be trading the cushion for the pen (though you can write on your meditation cushion if you'd like) as she leads us through a contemplative writing exercise. Because-- as Patia mentions-- both writing and art have a way of helping us reveal truth.  

Just grab a comfortable seat and a pen + paper, then click the video above. 

 

 

Day #24 :: Contemplation :: 31 Days of Devotion

Today I'm back with you on the meditation cushion as we explore the theme for Week #4: Contemplation. 

Which, simply put, is the action of pointing our minds towards something and staying there for a while. Getting to know it's ridges and bumps. Creating space for understanding and insight to arise. 

Today's contemplation was inspired by none other than Bill Murray.

Yep. That Bill Murray. 

And if this sounds a little strange in the context of meditation, hold tight. Because his answer to a recent interview question is right on point with what we're doing here on the cushion together. Meditation begins at the 4 minute 50 second mark. 

Just grab a comfortable seat, and perhaps a pen + paper to capture your own insights after meditation, and click the video above

Now let's go home. 

 

 

Day #25 :: Contemplation :: 31 Days of Devotion

Welcome to your practice for Day 25. 

Today we're joined by the insightful + delightful Miss Sydney Rose as our contributing teacher, as she offers us-- in signature Sydney style-- an extended practice for Week #4's theme:: Contemplation. 

When Sydney sent today's practice through the ethernet into my inbox, it came labeled with an appropriate title --"Contemplaytion"-- which is the perfect description for today's practice. 

Today she brings us back into a body-based meditation, as we're guided through what it feels like to build an awareness of pleasure, and cultivate relaxation. Which, in Sydney's words, helps make meditation a sacred space that we'll want to come back to.
Again and Again. 
Consistency.
Devotion.
That's the name of the game. 

She also happens to be wearing one of the most wonderfully incendiary slogans across her heart center; plucked straight from the Buddhist canon of the Four Reminders -- To give us all a little sumthin' extra to contemplate both on and off the cushion.
If you haven't checked out Sydney's work yet, you can do so HERE, or sign up for her upcoming project, Self Love Saves The World, which is launching in February.
Meditation begins at the 1 minute 48 second mark. 
May it be of benefit. 

QUESTIONS OR THOUGHTS FOR SYDNEY? CLICK HERE TO COMMENT + JOIN THE CONVERSATION 

Day #26 :: Contemplation :: 31 Days of Devotion

Welcome, Welcome, to your practice for Day #26. 

I'm back on the cushion with you this fine morning as we continue to deepen into our theme for Week #4:: Contemplation. 

I've had loads of fun this week drawing on unconventional sources to inspire our contemplative practice-- beginning with Yumi Sakugawa helping us invite our demons to tea, then with Bill Murray asking us "What is it like to be you?"
Today I continue the theme by invoking the wonderful weirdo and Queen of Everything, Yoko Ono, to inspire our practice.

Yoko Ono usually gets a bad rap for breaking up The Beatles. 
Which, in my opinion, is the least interesting thing about her, and tends to swallow up the legacy of her magical mind. 

In her book, Acorn, she presents us with playful koan-like instructions such as:
"Tape the sound of your friend ranting. Bury it in the ground on a snowy day." 
and
"Take off your pants before you fight". 
(The latter is just good advice.) 
As well as the inspiration for today's practice, titled "Cleaning Piece V"
If you're a fan of traditional LovingKindness Meditation, this one is for you. 

If you want to skip my introduction and get right to the action, you can forward the video to the 3 minute and 58 second mark. 
Just grab a comfortable seat, and perhaps a pen + paper to capture your own insights after meditation, and click the video above

As Queen Yoko says:

"Try whenever you remember to do it.
Try whenever you feel stressed out. 
See what happens to your life." 

 

Day #27 :: Contemplation :: 31 Days of Devotion

Hello you Lovely Meditators. Welcome to your practice for Day #27. 

Today we continue on with our theme for Week #4: Contemplation, with Patia Braithwaite back at the helm as our contributing teacher. 


If you didn't catch Patia's first contemplative journaling exercise earlier this week, you are in for a treat. 
Besides holding the mantle as my literary-crush, Patia is an award winning essayist, creator of The Inner Workroom, and writer of the forthcoming manual101 Affirmations For People Who Hate Affirmations. 
If you love her writing as much as I do, send her a shoutout HERE to keep in touch and stay abreast of her latest work.  

For today's practice, Patia leads us through a contemplative journaling exercise that we can do on the spot, wherever we are, no matter how chaotic our environment may seem. Because, as she so succinctly points out, we're rarely-- if ever-- in the "perfect" conditions.

Though with a little concentration, we can access the center within the storm.

Just grab a comfortable seat, and a pen + paper to capture your own insights, and click the video above. 

May the ink flow forever in your favor. 

Day #28 :: Contemplation :: 31 Days of Devotion

I'm back with you as the host for today's meditation as we wrap up our theme for week 4 :: Contemplation. 

Today's topic takes a good look at something that I bet we all know a bit about, just by virtue of being human: 
What it's like to get stuck in repetitive "ruts". 
Those familiar, strangely comfortable potholes and habits we find ourselves tripping into every so often, that make us look up and question
"Wait. How did I get HERE again??" 

If you feel me on this one:
A) Today's practice is for you
B) Welcome to being Human. You're in great company.

Just grab a comfortable seat, and perhaps a pen + paper to capture your own insights after meditation, and click the video above. 

CLICK HERE TO COMMENT + JOIN THE CONVERSATION