Mindfulness has been encouraged for stressed professionals.
Research and experience show that the process of regular meditation can rewire the brain.
I tried all three. Got positive results from all.
But stuck with mindfulness for five years because is was free (at Shambhala Buddhist temple you can throw in a buck or two donation).
It can be done anywhere at any time. That included in the car while driving (on my cross country trip from Tucson, Arizona to Austintown, Ohio, when I got in a huge traffic jam in Arkansas I kept repeating the mantra: Setback. Not End of World).
And there are mindfulness communities ready-made that we can join.
The latter was what wound up unhinging me. I am toying with getting some CBT visits authorized by my insurance carrier. As I was heading home from the program I assessed if I should swing by the ER. My heart was racing. My legs were shaking.
Here's how I got into that pickle. When I settled into Small Town U.S.A in OH, I was shocked that the nearest Buddhist temple was about an hour's drive of winding roads. I set up a shrine room in my house. I figured that was as good as it gets.
Then, I struck gold on the internet. Or thought so. I found a monthly mindfulness meetup group at the Public Library in Hubbard, OH. So far so good.
At the meetup, one woman indicated she was starting a two-year formal study program for Buddhism. She had the materials so it wouldn't cost us.
Last Sunday, despite the snow, I showed up for the group in Boardman, OH.
Yikes. To my surprise, there was homework to do (after a doctoral program at the University of Michigan and being a 1L at Harvard Law, no, I didn't want any homework).
For the first of many modules we each would have to pony up $15. One group member, who was not the leader, said that was fine because the group wasn't in financial hardship. Duh. One member had $20,000 in student loans. Me? Before leaving AZ, I had just paid off the last credit card balance. That had taken 13 years.
Then I entered a crisis state. A man who was studying at a local seminary for the Christian ministry, serving as a chaplain at the Cleveland Clinic and attending Buddhist rituals an hour away did a stunner. He was not the leader.
In public, he told the woman with the $20,000 student loans that she was "dominating" the discussion and to stop it. If anyone was being too verbal it was probably me.
When that happened I was too taken aback to push back verbally. The leader didn't say anything.
The woman who was attacked seemed to blow it off. After all, thanks to mindfulness she claimed that she had landed a wonderful job in North Carolina and all the rest of the pieces were falling into place.
My legal mindset, though, kicked in. Obviously this could be a situation of negligent supervision. The program could also have been misrepresented. By time all the modules were ordered that could add up to three figures.
I imagined being flat out in bed and this creature comes towards me. Hey, maybe I better steer clear of the Cleveland Clinic. I had just had eye surgery at a specialty center and knew very well what it was to be helpless, totally dependent on the medical system. That memory was raw.
What I will definitely do is terminate attendance at the meetup. No question the two-year program seems cartoonish to me. I will keep far away.
Will I report the alleged miscreants - both the no-hardship-here and the reprimanding chaplain - to the "proper authorities?" From the old neighborhood in Jersey City, New Jersey, I have been socialized not to be a rat. But ...
Since this blog is syndicated and is widely followed, I am hoping those matters will be taken care of through the wisdom of crowds.
Tonight, I will go into my shrine room. I have to forgive myself for too much trust in Buddha. You bet, I feel foolish. Should that hang on I will move on taking action beyond blogging. Will the insurance company believe Buddha bit me in the butt?
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