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28 Day Meditation Challenge: Meditation is a Team Sport
Submitted by KateJ on Fri, 2/10/2012, 2:58pm
Our goal is to create a beloved community, and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives. -- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., May 4 1966
This past weekend was the Super Bowl and, I must confess, I didn’t know who was playing till after it was all over. I never really got into football, much to the dismay of my bone-crushing family. I have in my family tree all the makings of a football freak – an uncle who coaches in the NFL, several cousins who coach college football, and many many die hard fans. I WISH I was into football – I would love to defy the stereotype of the “Ew… sports” girl, and I know plenty of female-bodied folks who are all about it – but in all my years of watching, the passion just never took hold. The rules never stuck, nor did player names or explanations about strategy. Last year after the Super Bowl, I asked my dad how the World Series went down. He has yet to stop laughing about it. (Apparently, the World Series is a baseball game... Hmph.)
I’ll tell you what I DO get into, though. Teams. High fiving, chest bumping, secret keeping, fist pounding, trash talking, nick-name giving, matching outfit wearing TEAMS, baby. Yeah.
My sisters were my original team. In matching Laura Ashley Easter dresses and shiny black shoes, we swapped snacks and whispered dirty dozens jokes across pews in church. My ballerina girlfriends were my next teammates -- bunheads, all of us, we thought we were hot stuff walking down the street with shorts over our pink tights and sweaty pointe shoes swaying from our nylon duffle bags, matching Nutcracker dreams dancing in our heads. If I wanted, I could write my life as a history of team allegiances, sometimes contradictory and overlapping. Team Indie-Rocking Hip Hopper, Team Burger Chomping Yoga Diva, Team Bohemian Workaholic -- you know what I'm talking about.
The thing about being on a team is – you don’t always like your teammates, but you love them, and you always cheer them on. You may fight from time to time, but it’s because you all care SO MUCH about the same things. And when things are good with your teammates – when you’re in the flow, working together, moving and grooving -- oh man, its really, really good. When you’re one of the gang, your individual joy reverberates with everyone else’s, magnifying as it bounces between you. Commence the chest bumping.
Being a part of a community of meditation practitioners doesn’t always feel as team-like. True, I slap quite a few high fives when I roll in to IDP for a class. But there’s less of a unified identity among the crew -- at least not one that the eye can see. We all look and sound and think so differently, it’s clear that the sangha is only one of the many communities each of us belongs to. Unlike our basketball or art star or death metal band teammates, we meditators don’t share a uniform aesthetic, skill set, or life dream. We are card-carrying members of Team Meditation, but most of us wear our cards on the inside, close to our hearts.
These past few days of the meditation challenge though, I get up in the morning imagining my teammates stretching their hamstrings and slurping down Gatorade (NOT Haterade!) and settling in to their meditations postures for the big game. I may be tired, I may fear boredom, but I sure as hell am not going to be the one to let down the team. So I get in the game -- I assume the position, and I do my part to bring us closer to the enlightened society we've had our hearts set on for years. It feels good. And it reminds me that my meditation practice isn’t just good for me, or for my immediate Buddhist sangha. It’s the most basic, fundamental, simple way I can do my part for Team Beloved Community, aka Team Planet Earth.
The best thing about this meditation challenge for me so far is that we are doing it together… and this morning, I definitely did it for the team.
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