Mindfulness Course week 5

Not much to report this week. Today is my day off and one task is to do something with a couple of houseplants, which if you read to the end of the blog you may be able to help me with.

The course suggests doing the Breath & Body meditation followed by the Sounds and Thoughts one, both of which were done last week. They are immediately followed by taking a thought and instead of acknowledging it and letting it go, you are supposed to let it sit a while and then you examine how you feel including any physical effects. You then do this with a thought or memory of something that is difficult, eg a disagreement with someone or something painful from the past.

I followed the instructions and realised that actually I am quite calm and even difficulties I am facing at the moment did not loom very large or emotional. I think this is because I have done a lot of inner work in the past and whilst those who know me well know that I do get upset at times and I do flare up with feelings of guilt and “it’s all my fault!” or ‘I’m the worst vicar ever!’ I am actually getting more able to cope with things that go wrong. And I think that doing this meditation each day is helping.

One example is that yesterday at a funeral I was conducting (large congregation plus my bishop present and lots of other ministers and not in my own church) I realised I had forgotten to confirm with one minister we were all robing up so she turned up expecting to sit in the congregation. I felt terrible, guilty and for a short while let it get to me. But I let it go so that I could focus on the service. As we processed into church behind the person holding the cross up, it became clear that I had also not realised that I needed to tell the people at the front to not stop when the person holding the cross stopped but to continue filing in to where they should sit. The procession ground to a halt, but not for too long. Fortunately one of the ministers suggested the person with the cross continue walking, which he did and we managed to get moving again.

The course suggests we continue with 3 minutes of breathing twice a day plus whenever needed. The instructions now are to first think about and describe how we feel, then count our breathing in and out and notice any physical discomfort and breath into it. I have expanded it to 5 minutes and have one just before my mid-day prayer time before lunch and then at around 5pm before praying the examen. Instead of counting the breaths I pray a simple phrase taking a word or two with each breath. “Be still and know that I am God”, “Be Still” or “Calm me Lord and you stilled the storm, still me Lord keep me from harm. Let all the tumult within me cease, enfold me Lord in your peace”

The habit breaker for this week is to either sow some seeds or take care of a plant. It is the wrong time of year for seeds, so I have decided to re-pot a house plant today and do something with an orchid. But not sure how to proceed, so have asked on Facebook. This therefore enables me to procrastinate over that job a bit longer until I get consensus of opinion. Can I re-pot the cactus with the soil right up to the bend in the stalk and should I cut back the stalk of the orchid that has finished flowering? Please comment if you know what I should do.

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