In preparation for conducting a research project at Yale University on the role of spirituality in the treatment of addiction, I began reading books on Buddhist philosophy and psychology and on practices such as meditation for the purpose of integrating some of these practices into a structured treatment intervention. Although I had used, and created, guided imagery and visualization audiotapes in the past for my patients and for my own personal use, I had never attempted meditation, perceiving it as too passive for me. However, as I was seriously considering including meditation as a component of the treatment program my colleagues and I were developing and would subsequently evaluate for efficacy with a sample of drug-addicted individuals, I decided that I should at least try it, if only to identify potential obstacles to adherence that might be encountered when providing the intervention to others. Thus, I firmly resolved to begin meditating. In addition to reading as much as I could on the subject, I began by getting up an hour earlier each morning in order to set aside time specifically for my meditation practice. Following my sitting meditation each morning, and before beginning my usual work routine, I ate a light breakfast which always included a fresh orange. Therefore, when I expanded my meditation to include the practice of mindfulness, I saw the orange as an obvious choice for the subject of my practice. As the days passed, I became increasingly desirous of creating a record of my experiences. I was eager to extend and preserve the many benefits I was receiving from meditation. By permitting myself uncensored creative expression of insights gained during my meditation practice using images, words, and stories, I found that I was increasingly able to integrate my practice into my personal life. My purpose was therefore quite selfish. However, after sharing a few of the pieces with one or two family members I was encouraged to compile them and share them further. What follows then is a compilation of some small lessons learned while listening to an orange peeling offered humbly by a novice in the life-changing practice of mindfulness meditation. This offering would not have been possible without the encouragement of my husband and colleague, Arthur Margolin.
This collection is offered in loving memory of my brother-in-law Alan Moore whose courage inspired me to stop and listen.