Via Basel: Being, an early benefit

Cole Thompson

Many years ago when I started meditation, I  was instructed to practice Being at times instead of my constant Doing. After having accepted my type A personality over decades, one that valued action and achievement, that was a tough act to follow. But then again, being an achiever, I trudged along in fits and bursts, doing my best and knowing all along that I was falling way short. A flicker, however, was lurking there underneath the tumult above.

Recently, as I retired from my lifelong practice of Orthopedic Surgery, it came as a complete surprise when I was recruited by a colleague to give classes on Mindfulness/Meditation to patients in a behavioral health center. Although I practiced regularly and went on retreats, I never considered myself an expert or a teacher on that most expansive and important subject. I was therefore forced to immerse myself deeper into it and even reflect on my own practice, remembering the sage’s advice, “You better practice what you preach.” At times now whether I’m slumbering in my place, taking a stroll along the lake, or conversing with a dear friend, I am visited by a short-lived sensation of deep stillness, contentment, and  balance, which translates into a real taste of profound Being. Words and language are inadequate in describing these experiences, but I know I have missed them in the past. Not anymore; my intention is to deepen my practice and help others experience the same.

The stark realization came to me that a process that started years ago took its time to settle, take hold, and permeate my whole being. But that is precisely the way lasting transformations of any kind occur: slowly, gradually, and then permanently.


Basel Al-Aswad, father of EIL founder Chris Al-Aswad, is a yogi trapped in an Orthopedic Surgeon’s body. His loves in life include reading, hiking, enjoying nature, meditation, and spending time with his large Iraqi family, and now he will have more time for that. And for the next adventure.

Via Basel: On Retirement and Letting Go

Via Basel: Letting go…continued

Via Basel: On Letting Go–The End


Mindfulness Meditation with Jon Kabat-Zinn

Mindfulness Meditation with Joseph Goldstein


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