Happy Side Effects


We can talk for days about what the
central point of meditation is. It’s possible that it’s different
for each of us.

For me, there’s no question. It’s
a lifelong discovery process of looking more and more deeply into who I am, what is truth, and what remains when I let go of everything. It’s the digging of that well,
and the absolute, flat-out joy that results from the digging.

The rest are just happy side effects.

During a daily practice, we train our
focus. If we didn’t, I’d spend my 30-60  minutes
thinking of better ways to stop my dog from eating disgusting, rotten
food off the street, or wondering what I’m going to do with the
rest of my life, or being frustrated that I still can’t do a
headstand in the middle of the room. You know, really important

Training my focus is like using my

My camera comes almost everywhere with me. It
just feels better than cursing myself for not bringing it, which is
what happens every time I leave it at home.

Why do I take it everywhere? Because
beautiful, surprising things show up every place I go.

Here’s the thing, though. I point the
camera to the left, and all I see is morning traffic. I point it to
the right and zoom in, and I see a gorgeous pairing of chairs, one
for a kid, one for an adult, which makes my eyes well up, thinking of
love and parenting and the wise words that come from kids’ mouths.

Untrained focus is like a camera that
just swings all over the place. No sense of purpose, no sense of direction, at the whim of whatever honks loudest in your life. Lousy pictures. Trained focus is a camera that looks
where you choose to look.

Beyond photography, trained focus means
that I can either see the 3,000 random realities in front of my face: dog woofing
cigarette butts for all I know, my head hurting a bit, my inadequate
headstand, loud traffic. Or I can decide to focus on the truths I find beautiful: dog is alive and well, I am extraordinarily healthy
overall, I can do headstands and handstands against a wall and I
learn more every day, and traffic means that people are going places,
the world is humming, all is well.

Focus means that I fill my head and my
energy with the thoughts that do me good.

Again, this is a side effect of
meditation for me, but with side effects this good, isn’t it worth
a few minutes of your morning?

Thanks to yoga for training more than
our bodies.

Thanks to you for the conversation,


Kristin Shepherd is a chiropractor, actor, and speaker (About All
Things Wonderful) in North Bay, Ontario.  Join her on the 
and on 

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