Kind Promise: I will experience this moment.

When I wrote my kind promises for 2013, I added in parentheses after this one “to come to my senses.”

Electronic illustration/painting: "I am become sky"It’s easy for me to get lost in my mind. I have an unfortunate habit of believing that my thoughts are The Truth or even What’s Real. After years of attempted practice (which I suppose counts as practice, but I’m not convinced it was useful), I have a real meditation practice. That means that – more days than not – I sit and pay attention to my breath. I get lost in my mind and practice getting found again.

There is no effort in “getting lost.” It doesn’t take long for me to forget that I’m paying attention to my breath and, instead, follow meandering trails of thought. Then I realize that I’m thinking and say to myself, “right now, I’m following my breath.” I return to paying attention to my breath.

On the way back to breath, I used to detour through scolding myself for not paying attention. I have been learning from Susan Piver not to do that. “No problem,” she reassures me in her calming voice. I believe her.

I think of meditation as a core practice to practice practicing. The other day I made a list of all the things I practice these days to tip my days toward comfort and joy. There are a lot of them now and many of them are such habits that I feel awkward without them. I’ve added them slowly, like a coral reef growing. Meditation was the foundation.

By practicing meditation I have learned how thoughts and emotions come and go. Light and dark, terrible and lovely, they pass like clouds across the sky of my consciousness. In the past, I got attached to the clouds and made them Something Big. Lots of dark clouds must mean I’m a terrible person or that life is miserable. Now I know better.

What’s real is what I see and smell and hear and taste and touch in this moment. When I come to my senses, I experience this moment. I am become sky.