Like many people, I have a new year ritual that began when I was young. As far back as I can remember, I have spent part of New Year’s Day reflecting on the prior year and setting personal goals for the new year. In my younger years, my goals focused on becoming what I imagined to be the “perfect me.”
My wish is to slow my Clock Dance down before I’m gone with a pouf! I want to observe and experience my life. But how? One of my teachers is always reminding me, “Liz, you have the time to pause.” Left to myself, I never think I do. Like Willa, I’m all awhirl, running, spinning. When I pause for meditation, at least my body is still. My mind is usually another matter.
Over the past ten years, I have attended eight 10-day Vipassana meditation retreats. Vipassana means to see things as they really are. One of the requirements for participants in the retreat is to remain in Noble Silence until the ninth day, when you are allowed to engage in what the teacher likes to call “Noble Chattering.” In my experience, however, even after meditating ten hours a day for 10 days, it’s easy to lose “nobility” of thought and speech, and people often return to their habitual ways of speaking, whether noble or not.
by Sasha Silberman
In my high school years, deeply depressed, I self-medicated with food up to the point of morbid obesity. Full of self-loathing and snacks, I didn’t think I deserved any better. Once I improved mentally, my sole aim was to shed the weight and get thin - and I did so with a ferocity that I had never experienced before, and have never experienced since. Even once I was back on the healthy side of that bridge, having shed the excess weight, I could never shed my fixation.