I was recently introduced to a game for the iPhone called “Katamari”. It is a game in which you are represented by an oblong-headed little person, controlling a very adhesive ball. The idea is to roll the ball around various landscapes (apartments, gardens, etc), gathering up pencils, thumbtacks, water bottles, even pets by tilting the phone this way and that. You end up with a giant snowball of household items, then move up in size to picking up people, cars, and larger things in the ball. The object is rolling around getting bigger and bigger. All of this is done in as quickly as possible, and is accompanied by frenetic music.
It is striking how this little game can be a mirror of our lives. We find ourselves rushing from place to place, trying to gather as much stuff as possible. Even when we are not trying to, we seem to end up accumulating more things. Our minds may be sticky like this as well, absorbing all the flotsam and jetsam of media and advertising, human interactions, and work pressures, with thoughts rolling and crashing around when we’re trying to sleep or enjoy a sunset.
Katamari is a fun game, a cute diversion, but no fun at all if we find ourselves living in constant doing mode. And this frenetic energy can even begin to encroach upon other areas of our lives.
MBSR or Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction is one way to explore the area in between frenetic and sleep. In eight weeks, we practice several forms of mindfulness activities and meditation. By the end, we may have worn a little path to this place that we’ve always known, but may not have experienced in some time: Relaxed alertness.
In MBSR we explore what might be an unfamiliar realm; the realm of just being. In doing so, we find a vast counterbalance to all of that doing.
“Most of us need to be given permission to switch from the doing to the being mode, mostly because we have been conditioned since we were little to value doing over being. We were never taught how to work with the being mode or even how to find it. So most of us need a few pointers on how to let go into it.” — Jon Kabat-Zinn
In this we can experience a sense of balance in our lives — the exhale following the inhale. We can experience a sense of wholeness in our lives, appreciating each moment as it is, with no need to add, or accumulate anything.
Registration is now open for the Fall MBSR class. The class runs for 8 weeks on Wednesday evenings from 6:30 – 8:30 pm starting September 21st. The class includes a one-day retreat on Saturday October 29th.
There are two options to attend a required free orientation: Wednesdays from 6:30 – 8 on September 7th and September 14th. This is your invitation to exploring a balanced life.