This is Why We Practice Mindfulness Meditation

Mindful Editor Anne Alexander reflects on the importance of leaning on our practice when the known falls away and we’re left with anger, confusion, fury, or despair.

Kateryna Kovarzh/Adobe Stock

I love the opening line of our feature about women leaders in mindfulness: “This is why we practice.” It feels like a manifesto, capturing how to live now.

Because as the world convulses with turmoil, my mind convulses, too. My thoughts fly like a storm in a snow globe: pandemic, death, disease, fear, invisible air particles, racial violence, social injustice, micro- and macroaggressions, shouting, anger, political warfare, economic freefall, joblessness, uncertainty, anxiety—all are swirling in my snow globe. Yours too? I feel raw, unsettled, hurt, angry, sad, furious, compassionate, sorrowful. It’s all in there, around me, inside of me, all swirling. And I suspect you and your snow globe are swirling, too. I think we are all swirling.

Why Practice Mindfulness?

And this is why we practice, so in the midst of the blizzard—loud, blinding, tempestuous—we have some ability to sense the howl and gale and not be overcome.

We practice so that when the known falls away, we can hold on to faith that something new will come. This is why we practice, so that as we feel the uncertainty, we can also feel the familiar ground of our cushion and our breath. We remember that we have been in deep uncertainty before and that slowly, somehowingly, we emerged somewhere
that felt righter.

We practice so that when the known falls away, we can hold on to faith that something new will come.

This is why we practice, so in the midst of a swirling snow globe of despair, anger, confusion, rage, fury, depression, we can see those thoughts and the stories we attach, and we can feel the constant, pulling weight. And perhaps a tiny bit, we can also see hope, love, and possibility.

This is why we practice, so we can recognize injustice and we can say, as Jenée Johnson says, “That happened, this is what I am facing.” And then, as she also says, “I’m
moving on.”

This is why we practice, so people with hugely different backgrounds, viewpoints, experiences, can come together, snow globe to snow globe, and see each other’s humanity, dignity, and raw vulnerability with kindness and compassion, all laid bare through practice.

My mind is tired. I suspect all of our minds are tired. This is why we practice. We have a long way to go, and our snow globes are deeply shaken—and no doubt many shakes lie ahead. But
this is why we practice.

With love,
Anne

read more

Voices

Following the Path of Mindfulness 

Mindful editor Anne Alexander invites us on the journey of deepening our sense of wellness through mindful ways of thinking and being. Read More 

  • Anne Alexander
  • March 4, 2020