The day after watching my paternal grandmother die, I started cooking. A lot. After losing both of my grandmothers in the span of a few months this summer, it was the only thing I could think to do. It was the only thing that comforted me. Apparently, when I grieve, I cook.
The mind’s natural instinct is to think, weave webs, build edifices, poke and prod and coax and scream. Some of that mental noise is helpful in making sense of the millions of stimuli that bombard you every day. The mind is always planning and plotting and reacting and proacting. It wants to understand all the things that happen to you and happened to you and might happen to you. It wants to fill in the blanks even when all you want is some peace and quiet. So it writes stories.
I had a difficult time making and posting this video because I wasn't happy with myself for the approach I was taking with my son, Oliver. But shooting together provided a safe forum in which we were able to talk gently, for the first time in days, and be open to and at ease with one another. It reminded us (okay, me - he seems not to need a reminder) of why we're here. Thank you, Oliver. I love you.
Often after I lead a meditation session, students will ask me how long we sat. It's nearly always 24 minutes, which one of my teachers says is the amount of time it takes for the mind to settle down, and I trust her. But their experience of it is different each time. Sometimes 24 minutes seems like hours; other times they say it feels like five.
Maybe you've heard people say that they don't need to do sitting meditation because they do other things that have meditative qualities. "My yoga is my meditation," they say, or running or music or knitting or any repetitive activity.