There was never any more inception than there is now,
Nor any more youth or age than there is now,
And will never be any more perfection than there is now,
Nor any more heaven or hell than there is now.
-Walt Whitman, Song of Myself
As we start to transition from Spring to Summer, the natural world reminds us that this is a time of year to recognize the earth’s abundance. All around us there are innumerable signs of nature’s wealth, of the bounty of the gardens and fields, the richness of the long hours of sunlight that transforms small seedlings into gorgeous, nourishing plants. The farmer’s markets are overflowing with offerings, the gardens are flourishing with the blazing colors and seductive aromas of flowers and herbs. The trees have metamorphosed from bud-flecked branches into brilliant and majestic tapestries of green. Yes, nature is telling us, embrace the fullness of life!
One of the greatest gifts that a good meditation practice offers us is a capacity to see the richness in our lives. Meditation enables us to touch the fullness of our possibilities. It can provide a doorway to a way of living that allows us to see with more openness, to be more present for all that we experience. In this sense, meditation practice can help us engage with the abundance that is already inherent in our lives. So often in our routine lives we can become wrapped up in thinking about what we don’t have, what our deficiencies are, how we lack this or that, how much better things could be if we had more…and so on.
In fact, nearly all of the signals and messages that are directed at us by mainstream media, especially those from commercial advertisers, are geared towards reinforcing this sense that what we have, who we are, what we do—that none of it is enough. The messages can be relentless in their final interpretation by the psyche: I am incomplete, broken, unfulfilled, inadequate, missing out, deprived. I need more stuff, more material to make me complete.
And yet, if we pause for a few moments and pay attention to the stillness between our thought streams, we can sense that we are here, now, and there is so much in this present moment! By cultivating a practice of meditation there is this possibility of transcending the messages of inadequacy, of arriving at a place of refuge where we can make friends with our hearts and minds, wherever we are at. There is so much abundance in our lives. We are rich with experiences and feelings, memories and emotions. We are part of a universe that is so rich with energy that if we pause to pay attention, to open up our awareness, we can begin to really feel the transcendent quality of just being fully awake.
And here in New York City, meditation practice has a quality of abundance and accessibility like no other. The following list of free and by-donation meditation classes and sessions is by no means complete. However, it offers an opening into our wonderfully diverse world of practices and traditions that is the garden of abundance right in front of us if we just awaken to the invitation.
Written by Gabriel Woodhouse for bodono.
Gabriel Woodhouse is one of the teachers at Three Jewels which offers free meditation classes every weekday morning and on Friday evenings. Three Jewels functions as a Meditation, Yoga, Dharma, and Outreach Center for the community. More info at: threejewels.org