CushionButt: Sitting for iBme

by Leslie Lytle on June 5, 2012

Two weeks ago, my family made a commitment to sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day, for a month, as part of Inward Bound Mindfulness Education’s inaugural Commit to Sit Fundraiser, to raise scholarship funds so that disadvantaged teens may attend mindfulness meditation retreats.

Before I go farther, a little history is in order.

For the last couple of years, my son has been attending the five-day meditation retreats offered by iBme. When my husband and I picked him up after his first retreat, held over the New Year’s holiday, we were astonished by the kindness, openness, and connection emanating from the kids and staff. At home, Stuart’s maturity level took a quantum leap. It felt like a kind of blessing for our family. That experience has been repeated each time he returns from a retreat. Last week he told us that attending iBme retreats is the single most valuable thing he has ever done in his life.

So we’re pretty committed to iBme, because we’re living the results of our son’s participation in their programs. In fact, I was so impressed with their work that I joined their board.

It is wonderful when something you do for others benefits yourself.  One of my favorite examples of this effect is a study in which researchers recruited “grandparent” volunteers and trained them to provide massage for compromised infants. The study was primarily about the infants’ response to massage – which was enormously positive – they gained more weight, were easier to soothe, and were discharged from the hospital sooner than those who had not received the massage protocol. But the researchers were smart enough to gather data on the grandparent volunteers as well. Turns out their gift of time, compassion and touch resulted in significant decreases in depression scores, fewer cups of coffee and visits to the doctor, and greater social engagement. Everybody won. (A review of research studies on massage for pre-term infants can be found here).

It feels similar with our participation in the Commit to Sit event. I wish I could tell you that we’re stellar meditators, that we hop right out of bed each morning and hit the cushion already blissed out, that our lives have changed dramatically and permanently and we have no more truck with anger, misunderstanding, and petty stubbornness – all of the turbulence that families contend with on a day to day basis. That ain’t happening.

But two weeks into our commitment to sit everyday for twenty minutes (ten minutes in the morning, ten in the evening), here’s what has happened:

  • We are sitting in meditation more often.
  • We are occasionally sitting in meditation together (huge for a family with a teenager).
  • We have negotiated several emotional minefields with a degree of grace and patience that is nothing short of awe-inspiring.
  • We are having more meaningful conversations.
  • We attended a family meditation group together.
  • Patience is arising.
  • We are kinder to each other.
  • We are kinder to ourselves.

Meditation is not a magic pill. Or perhaps it is; we’re just not used to swallowing it. But when taken regularly, the effects, like waves washing sand up on the shore, become visible. I look back on these two weeks and know with certainty that this intention to sit for the benefit of others has directly benefitted me and my family. I am inspired here, at the halfway point of this process, to re-commit to this practice, to pay attention to the changes that are arising in myself and my family out of that commitment.

I invite you to join us for the two weeks remaining on this meditation challenge. Join the Lytle meditation “team”, Mettaforce, and Commit to Sit for the next two weeks, for whatever amount of time feels do-able for you (5 minutes can do a lot!). Or consider making a donation in whatever capacity feels appropriate to you to support the members of our team in our practice. Help spread the word about Commit to Sit so our efforts can have a ripple effect. Your financial contribution will enable disadvantaged teens participate in iBme’s life changing mindfulness programs. Your commitment to sit – well, who knows where that may take you.

We hope you’ll join us and help us kick some meditation butt!  If you do, please let us know how it goes in the comments section below. Sitting can be a be life-changing experience!

Here’s a mantra to get your mindfulness practice going:

Breathing in I feel gratitude;
Breathing out I give thanks. 

Breathing in I feel joyful;
Breathing out I celebrate. 

Breathing in I know compassion;
Breathing out I am compassion.

Breathing in I feel loved;
Breathing out I offer love.

Breathing in I am still;
Breathing out I am at peace.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Susan Singer June 7, 2012 at 1:52 pm

What a beautiful practice and a wonderful gift to all around you. Thanks for sharing the information.

I commit to sitting 10 minutes twice a day for the rest of the month, joining you and your family in mindfulness.
Susan

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