Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sitting With Myself

Today, a friend and I were talking about meditation. He said he never meditates and really didn't know what it was for, what it was all about. Of course I first thought to tell him that meditation is meant to quiet the mind. It acts as a means of disciplining the mind, allowing you to tune into and work with your thoughts, with the added benefit of increasing your sense of peacefulness and reducing stress. All very rudimentary. All very practical.

Yet there's so much more to meditation than that. Something that I haven't been able to put my finger on...until now. Yes, working with the mind is all well and good and if I reap that benefit for my efforts, all the better. But I've come to realize that it's not all work -- there's a soul component, too. It is the part of me that gets fed by the simple act of turning my attention on myself with no other purpose than to be present, to sit with myself.

Talk about rudimentary! Now I don't just mean sitting with myself physically, but sitting with myself on any level...on every level. I think of it as investing the kind of time and energy I would with a good friend. Someone I would sit down with, be present with, no matter what her attitude or mood, how she was feeling physically, whether she wanted to talk or not. Someone I would invest in because I regard them that much. Someone whom I felt was unequivocally worth my time, my attention, my love.

Are you worth your own time? Or are you like me and sometimes feel like you are only worth being cared for that much if you can put on your happy face and be positive and pleasant and energetic? Like you have to put on some dog-and-pony-show in order to be accepted and loved or to be worth the time and effort of someone's undivided attention and presence?

Who wants the "phony" show?

There are times I avoid meditation because I don't feel like I'm able to do it "right". I'm not in a good enough mood or don't have enough energy or don't feel I can "do" what I'm "supposed" to. All this thought-watching and training myself to come back to the breath can be tough stuff! Yet if my intention is simply to sit with myself -- to regard myself -- and nothing else, all I need to do is show up and open the door. Spirit will do the rest.

It's about creating intimacy with ourselves. Sitting with ourselves no matter what our frame of mind. Regardless of whether we're peaceful and serene or whether we're the tired and crabby child exploring revenge fantasies for having to work so hard and play so little. We are wherever we are. That's what's Real. And wherever we are, we deserve to be regarded. We may not experience the external world this way, but there's no reason we can't create our own inner world through meditation as one of acceptance and respect for ourselves.

The added benefit of meditation from this perspective is unconditional love. The best part about it is that I find once I'm able to experience unconditional love for myself, I'm able to experience it everywhere -- with my husband, my family and friends, my co-workers, the stranger in line at the bank. Tapping into this wellspring of possibility makes anything and everything available. This is meditation to me -- increasing my sense of harmony with myself and with the world so I am able to open my heart and live from a place of love. Which is also no small task, but in my opinion, much more satisfying a journey.

What if you give yourself five minutes of your time every day? Not out of obligation or to cross another item off your to-do list, but because you deserve it. What if?//

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Journey Never Ends

Once again, it's been a while. Not by choice, really. Not an intended break but a break nonetheless. And suddenly I feel the urge to write again, and I accept it willingly. I don't ask where it's been or why now or even how it could leave me for so long. The fact is, it has arrived -- like the mysterious appearance of a pheasant at our bird-feeder last night -- and I will not question it, but enjoy it while it's here. Who knows how long it will stay before it runs off across the yard and down the block or whether (or when) it will return again.

In each moment, secrets are revealed. New aspects of our journey begin and yet the Journey itself never ends. Education is an ongoing process and the lessons, always. Who are we? Why are we here? What is my path, my purpose? It is natural to ask the questions...and yet, do the answers matter? Is it OK to admit we don't know and humbly continue on with our daily lives?

As cliche as it sounds, I know one thing for sure...change is the only constant. Anyone trying to grasp and cling to things as they are (or actually, to the way we think they should be) surely knows the truth of this. It is like water that runs through our fingers. Beyond this, the other things I choose to believe don't really matter. I like to think that the sun will continue to rise and set, that gravity will continue to keep my feet on the ground, and that this moment -- and what arrives in it -- is what is most worthy of my attention. But in the end, life continues to be life, independent of our expectations or goals or plans; certainly independent of how much we try to control the outcome.

What if we focus on what is here right now? The cloudy day is just a cloudy day. If it rains, it rains. If the sun breaks through, it breaks through. Why waste the energy wishing it were otherwise?

What is available to us in this moment? I say, enjoy it...//