Begin Again. The voice of Joseph Goldstein echoes in my head.
This summer, after a recommendation from one of our parishioners, I subscribed to an app on my iphone called 10% Happier. The apps tagline is “find calm, insight, and sleep” and it bills itself as helping you “build the skills you need for a more resilient, happy mind.” I started with the a set lessons entitled “The Basics” which featured world renowned meditation teacher, Joseph Goldstein. One of Goldstein’s most salient points in the series of lessons was employing the phrase, “begin again.”
If you’re familiar with meditation practice you know that it involves taking time to center yourself and sort of clear your mind. Typically this includes sitting still somewhere, closing your eyes, and trying to focus on something like your breath. Sounds simple enough until you try it. For many of us, our “mediation” time can turn into a time of thinking about this and that. We are easily distracted and let our mind wander from the task at hand – the task of focus and presence. What was great about Goldstein’s teaching was that he offered no judgement about the wandering – instead, he just offered the helpful phrase Begin Again. Once you notice you are wandering, refocus and begin again.
The Sunday after Labor Day is traditionally when our church begins again. We may have wandered over the summer or gotten distracted, but on the Sunday after Labor Day, the first Sunday after school is supposed to start we gather together, we have a celebration, and we begin again.