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  • This is the last half hour of Ani Pema's birthday retreat. Then it will be midnight in Colorado where Ani is in the middle of her year-long retreat in a cabin in the Rocky Mountains.

    The first lessons in meditation I ever had were taught by Fr Thomas Sham around the early eighties. We sat upright in chairs set in a circle in the parish hall in silence. I found the discipline liberating.

    Then in college there were stress management meditative exercises. Once Fr Saldanha of India taught about Anthony de Mello SJ. He said the meditation he was going to teach might be too uncomfortable for some. One or two stood up and left. Then he taught the corpse pose. When his mother died, he laughingly recalled how his mother had told him if he did not live up to his calling as a priest she would haunt him.

    The body scan meditation I encountered years later is remarkably like the corpse pose. I did the latter for a decade or so. Peace and bliss.

    Then turmoil came with a vengeance. I am so glad that Anne Mausolff once declared at an IWWG meeting, "Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord."

    When Kiki sent me the link to the global virtual retreat with Ani Pema on her birthday, I had lost the suppleness I once had.

    How could I sit still in meditation after having been so long away from the discipline? I have grown too stiff for this, I thought.

    I studied Ani Pema's picture. The graceful Tibetan habit. The color of light and shade. Her face - it shone with so much kindness I was compelled to think again. And to think positive. I think I can.

    Ani Pema. Himalayan. Mahabharat.
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