Reasons to Meditate

Reasons to Meditate

Discussion date: Thu, Apr 04, 2013 at our weekly Thursday evening practice

Dear Still Water Friends,

I enjoy Lisa Cullen’s poem, “Reasons to Meditate,” because rather than giving two or three reasons, she gives 28. There are many reasons why people are drawn to meditation and mindfulness practice, and many reasons why some continue practicing year after year.

This Thursday evening after our meditation period, we will read Lisa Cullen’s poem and reflect on the reasons we came to meditation and what keeps us coming back.

I was drawn to meditation because I experienced myself as hollow and incomplete. Though outwardly moderately successful, inwardly I suffered, and I didn’t understand why. I had an intuition that spiritual practices, especially meditation, might help. I moved in that direction — I read about it, took university classes, and visited temples and meditation centers — however, it took many years before I sat on a cushion and had a glimpse of what settling the mind really entails.

Once I had that glimpse my life changed. Until then I had relied only on my intellect, on thinking, to understand the world and guide me through life. Now I also had the tool of wordless awareness. I found that if I could bring myself into the present moment with mindfulness and concentration, the storminess of my life calmed. My experience of being fragile and empty lessened. Insights bubbled up. Decisions became easier. Of course I wanted to meditate more, and learn more about meditation.

Although I came to meditation wanting to reduce a specific unhappiness, I found that once meditation began to change that part of me, other parts began to change as well. For example, I was touched more deeply when I was the recipient of kind words and generous actions. I experienced little joys each day, just drinking tea or being present to a tree. More reasons to meditate.

You are invited to join us this Thursday. The “Reasons to Meditate” poem is below.

You are also invited to join us this week for a brief orientation to mindfulness practice and the Still Water community. The orientation will begin at 6:30 pm and participants are encouraged to stay for the evening program. If you would like to attend the orientation, it is helpful if you let us know by emailing us at

Warm wishes,

Mitchell Ratner

Coming Home to Ourselves: A Day of Practice, May 11, 2013 at Blueberry Gardens, Ashton, MD

Still Water Special Tour of the Freer Gallery Buddhist Collection, May 18, 2013, at Freer Gallery, Washington, DC

Reasons to Meditate

by Lisa Cullen

to practice noticing

to understand simple things

to give myself clarity

to face inevitable difficulties

to make a conscious choice

to welcome my feelings

to know pain

to experience the bliss of effort

to take gentle possession of my mind

to free my mind

to be aware of my sensitivity

to dip below superficiality

to brighten my eyes

to forget how i look

to stop moving

to let myself be how i am

to love deeply

to risk being myself

to sit upright like a pyramid

to stay still

to breathe in the air

to encourage a positive habit

to behave in the manner of one who woke up

to pursue freedom

to touch the ground

to learn without words

to unlock my heart

to go beyond

From What Book!? Buddha Poems from Beat to Hiphop, edited by Gary Gach

in: Dharma Topics
Discussion Date: Thu, Apr 04, 2013


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