How Meditation Became My Home
Although she had always been drawn to meditation, it wasn’t until Lisa Kring participated in a clinical study group with Dan Siegel of UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC) that she finally connected to the practice. Today, she’s a licensed clinical social worker and mindfulness meditation instructor.
Here, she talks about enlightened women, how to stay grounded, and why you should treat yourself like a precious puppy at the beginning of your meditation journey.
Q: What are the most significant benefits you’ve received from meditating?
A: While pain is part of the human condition, suffering is optional from a Buddhist perspective. I remain profoundly human but suffer so much less now; the experience of liberation is real for me.
I used to blame myself when I was suffering or view it as proof that I was defective somehow. That’s no longer my experience. Also, finally “coming home” to myself as I truly am in my own heart, I find that I am connected and at home wherever I am.
There is less the experience of separation and more of a deep connection. Lastly, I used to view circumstances as obstacles, which I can now understand as golden opportunities for transformation and growth. Basically, on this path, all are workable.
Q: What’s your top tip for a beginning meditator?
A: Start with all of the qualities you would bring to a sweet and precious puppy you are training: patience, consistency, kindness, understanding, tenderness, healthy humor, realistic expectations, and love. Kindness is the foundation for it all.
Q: Who’s had the most significant impact on your work?
A: The Buddha, without a doubt! Also, I hold as my heart teacher and guiding North Star, the Ven Ayya Tathaaloka. She is an incredible Theravada bhikkhuni nun who I am blessed to know and support. She embodies this path, and she lights the way wherever she goes.
She is also a testament that women can know enlightenment, equal to any man. As a lay practitioner in this tradition, I find it very beneficial to align with a monastic in this way.
Q: What are your favorite topics to focus on in your classes?
A: The powerful and transformative heart practices of compassion, self-compassion, and equanimity. I find awakening and developing wholesome qualities, such as gratitude, peace, wisdom, contentment, and joy, endlessly beneficial!
Q: Other than meditation, what daily tools do you use to feel your best?
A: From my perspective, it’s all practice, truly. But in that spirit, I stay grounded through hiking, running, cooking, enjoying music, dancing, laughing, books, art, friends, family, and social action activism. Simply slowing down is always a good thing!
Header photo: Glasshouse Images/Getty Images