Goodness, I am showing my age. Way back in 2007, when Clive Holmes visited South Africa, I was fortunate enough to attend his Better Health through Meditation Retreat at the Randburg Centre. It was in the good old days, long before Drupon Rinpoche pointed out that taking notes was not the best way to benefit from teachings… which means I have copious notes of pretty much every word Clive said.

One of the exercises Clive introduced us to was a Mindfulness exercise called the 4R’s. I am sure most of you will be familiar with some form of this simple but awesome little exercise. There are many variations of it with different terminology but the same essential instructions.

Recognise, refrain, relax, resolve.

While it sounds simple, I mean honestly, 4 R’s, how hard can that be? Pretty hard, it turns out! Recognizing what is happening while it is happening is one thing, but refraining, or consciously not getting entangled, be it in thought or deed, is a whole other kettle of fish. And I am not even going to venture down the relax and resolve track today. That story is for another day.

For a long time, I thought that recognition was it. End of story. I know Cheese Naks are not a healthy dietary choice, therefore I joyously refrain from eating an entire packet of them and eat a plum instead. Even in my dreams, Cheese Naks win. Every. Time.

So when it comes to refraining from anger, or jealousy, especially in those moments when you are really angry or really jealous, we get to glimpse just how entrenched our habitual patterns are and how hard it is to choose another path. With the added pressure this last year has brought to life, it is easy to get bogged down and lose sight of the joyfulness of life and practice.

So today, no matter how grumpy you may be feeling, I would like to remind us all to be cheerful meditators. No matter how many times you fall off your wagon of choice, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and climb back onto the proverbial meditation cushion.

We are, after all, Bodhisattvas in training.

Till next time,
Tania Potter

June 2021