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Community Spotlight: Cathy Negrel

Where do you live?

Austin, TX

How did you come to meditation?

My first experience with meditation dates back to the late 1960’s when one of my high school classmates become a Hari Krishna devotee. I visited him at the temple where I was first exposed to the practice of meditation. In the late 70’s, my mother travelled to India where she practiced Vipassana Meditation for a month. This impressed me…that she could sit in silent meditation for such a long time. In further support of her practice, she would on occasion go on ten day silent meditation retreats in Kaufman, TX. I’ve meditated off and on over the years but with no consistency. In 2013, I became a more committed practitioner with the support of Kelly Lindsey. I started taking her Wednesday morning meditation class, and have been practicing with her every Wednesday since then. She has helped me learn the basics (and so much more) and she has supported me in integrating them into my daily life.

What inspires you to meditate?

Meditation is my invitation to sit quietly and peacefully with myself. Focusing on my breath affords me the opportunity to bring a sense of stillness to my mind, body and emotions and…a time to be with myself. My weekly classes with Kelly and our community inspires me and helps strengthen my commitment to my meditation practice. It is through meditation that I discovered that I am my own best friend. This was powerful. In day to day life, meditation helps me manage my propensity to feel anxious, and it also serves as an invitation to see the world from several different vantage points and perspectives. I believe it helps me experience life with a broader view depending on the day.

What does your meditation practice look like?

It varies. Lately, I’m aspiring to develop the healthy habit of meditating at the beginning of my day because I have discovered that if it doesn’t happen right off the bat in the morning…daily life gets in the way and I will find a litany of activities to keep me from getting to my cushion. Consistency is what is most important. I exercise every morning after I wake up and I see my mediation practice of equal importance to living a healthy life. If I skip my morning sit, it’s challenging for me to make the time to do it later in the day. I am hoping to add evening sits to my practice.

Do you have any rituals or routines that support your practice?

Yes. I enjoy lighting candles and incense and setting up my cushion…as an open invitation to come and sit.

How is your life different because of meditation?

This is a good question. It’s hard to pinpoint all of the ways that my life has changed. I would love to know what my husband, family and friends might say if I were to ask them this question. Meditation provides me with stability and the ability to respond to life and events rather than react. I notice that I have a propensity to be more thoughtful about responding to circumstances around me. It has helped me let go of the need to respond immediately to questions, phone calls, and situations that are not life threatening. Meditation in many ways helps my life feel more spacious and at the same time grounded.

What are the biggest challenges you have encountered in your practice?

My biggest challenge is to keep from sabotaging my best intentions to sustain my daily practice. Because I like to feel productive, I sometimes let my desire and need to accomplish tangible tasks (my to do lists) get the best of me.

What advice would you share with someone who is just starting a meditation practice?

Study the basics of mediation and study them again. Try to keep in mind that they are the steadfast infrastructure for a successful daily practice. It is through the continuity of practicing meditation daily that growth will flourish.

What does your heart most long for?

My heart longs for many things…a peaceful world where no one suffers, and on a more personal note to commit to going on a silent meditation retreat.

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