Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lent 2012

This year I've decided to observe Lent. I've never done this before--most Mormons don't--but a friend mentioned that she was doing it, and planted the idea. Then I was chatting with another friend of mine (who is Catholic) and she said this:
We consider Lent a time of penitence. While "giving something up" is a nice idea, and sometimes we do that, we see it as a time of taking something on as well. One year, we committed to attending morning Mass, every day of Lent. So, I don't think you have to give up something, like a favorite food. It should be about doing something that brings you closer to God: if that's giving something up, then I think that's great. If it's taking something on, then that's great too. But I think that all too often people just pick something, give it up, and don't think twice about it. Then there are those who have no formal rituals, but give themselves fully to the season of penitence that Lent should be.
I liked what she said. Then, just a day or two later, I read this article Don't Get Caught in the Lent Trap, and here is someone else saying that Lent often becomes a season of holy one-upmanship, rather than a time of truly trying to draw closer to Deity.

So I tried to think of what I might do to draw closer to Deity, and the answer came quickly and easily: daily meditation. Just two minutes a day, that shouldn't be hard, right? (I'll tell you, it already was hard on the first day, because I'm not used to this yet! I just forgot to do it until nearly bedtime!)

I am trying to be conscious of what Phil McLemore said in his article Mormon Mantras: that when one first begins practicing meditation, it may feel boring, or stressful, and the thoughts that come may be deeply subjective, before they are able to be transformative. BUT that's the whole point of continued practice!

I was reading another article from Psychology Today this afternoon and found Nine Essential Qualities of Mindfulness, and it was a very timely find. The nine essentials are:
  • focus on the present moment
  • being fully present
  • open to experience
  • non-judgment (oooo, I've written about that before)
  • acceptance of things as they are
  • connection
  • non-attachment
  • peace and equanimity
  • compassion

I actually already had an interesting epiphany today, but that will be in its own post. :)


Brooke said...

I've been looking for something, needing something. I've been feeling very lost lately. Your posts often point me in the right direction. Thanks :)

Michele said...

Love this post! (and thanks for the shout-out!) You were on my mind when I wrote my Ash Wed post, and I was wondering whether or not you'd decided to participate in Lent.

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