Yesterday I visited the library in Guildford and came home with several books on Buddhism to deepen my understanding. One was about Mandala meditations, so this morning I gave it a go. After 10 minutes of eye watering and double vision I decided to revert to my usual practice but I will perservere.
After this I dipped into another book called 'Dharma Moments' by Danai Chanchaochai and I am typing this part up to reinforce it in my mind, please let me know if it resonates with you -
'Another way Buddhism can be helpful in everyday life is the way it helps us create a sense of perspective. The belief for instance that there is no 'self' helps put things into perspective or significance in the greater scheme of things. It helps us to realise that this world, and whatever is beyond, can get on very well with or without us - that we are in fact, such little things when the stars come out. And knowing this certainly puts things into perspective, reminding us that we really don't need to take ourselves or life in general too seriously. There is infact a good reason for that big Buddhist smile.
One of the basic human challenges is learning to let go. Here again Buddhism comes to the rescue. Almost daily, in some way or another, we are called on to let go. To let go of our children as they mature, of spells of anger, of resentment and hurt. We are called on to let go of our own self-identify as we evolve and move through the stages of life. We have to let go of memories, both good and bad, and accept that change and impermanence are part of our lives.
Buddhism also reminds us that the opposite of letting go - craving, grasping, clinging - leads inevitably to disappointment and unhappiness. Even when what we desire is a good thing - such as love, for instance - we must accept that it won't last forever, unchanged, contrary to the words of many popular songs.
But perhaps the most important thing that Buddhism can teach us is the art of living according to the Middle Path, of living life to the full without attachment, seizing each moment, keeping in step with its eternal rhythm.
This, after all is how the Buddha himself lived. After he attained Enlightenment he remained fully engaged with his community, his neighbours, his followers and the world around him.
But he was attached to none of it, not even to life itself. This is the secret of living a Buddhist life.
Cultivating awareness of mindfulness, through Vipassana meditation is without doubt one of the most effective ways of mastering that secret. It's effective because by applying ourselves conscientiously and diligently to its practice, meditation will help us let go.'
A Vipassana meditation retreat is on my list as I've met people who have experienced them, but I'm too scared right now.