Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Week 3 - The Opening

Sometimes to see life clearly, you need to open more than your eyes. ~from the movie Local Color

Three weeks...twenty-one days. As I sit to write, I think again about my grandma's favorite piece of wisdom about how it takes twenty-one days to get used to something new. I remarked earlier about whether I would last that long. Now that the three week mark has come and gone, I realize I've just barely scratched the surface and the promise of what's possible has got me hooked. I can't imagine stopping now.

The Great North Wind has chosen today to blow in our first taste of winter. Around me is a constant state of flux. It's getting dark about three hours earlier than it did a couple of months ago and I find myself eating dinner earlier and hunkering down for the evening to write, to read and of course, to meditate. Outside my living room window, the trees are doing the fall wind-dance that sends their remaining golden leaves flying, as the squirrels frantically stuff their faces, scrounging for errant millet and sunflower seeds under the bird feeder in some instinctual last-ditch effort to put on a little more weight. The winds of change are blowing -- ready or not, here she comes.

As it is with my meditation. Week three commenced with my trying to figure out what I could do to make sinking deeply into my meditations happen faster. What should I be doing to make this work? Assuming, of course, that somehow it's not. Digging into my treasure trove of resources, I started exploring all the different techniques I had learned or read about over the years -- mantras, visualization, chanting, pranayama (breathing) exercises, counting, noting the thoughts that come...you name it, I tried it, all in the name of research.

By Sunday I was frustrated and realized that while the variety of things I had tried were interesting, my meditations still weren't yielding the results I wanted. Aha! I thought. The results I wanted. Who knew that expectations would and could still abound after last week's post??!? Seeing that I was continuing to fall back on the old worn belief that if I just tried hard enough, if I could just find the perfect combination of things to do I'd be triumphant, made it clear I was still attached to outcome.

I never knew I believed that lying within meditation was a puzzle to be solved, a goal to be achieved. Apparently, enlightenment doesn't come cheap and somewhere in here I hold a belief that it must be earned. That I must be deserving. If only I was good enough, smart enough, and clever enough to figure it out.

It occurs to me that in pregnancy, no matter how healthy a woman eats, no matter how well she takes care of herself, even if she does everything "right" there can still be complications and unfavorable outcomes. We can't control anything and yet we still take this incredible leap of faith and hang on to the hope that all will come out OK.

But where is it written that if we are good -- in anything -- we automatically get the Good Stuff? Ah, right...the promise of eternal salvation.

Is that where all of this efforting comes from? This need to dive in and "do" this thing called meditation rather than being willing to sit in the unknown day after day and let that be enough? I can't control this either and yet still I take this leap of faith and hang on to the hope that all will come out OK...whether or not it can be tallied that I have tried hard enough or am good enough or deserve whatever good can come from the showing up.

Perhaps this is the heart of surrender -- letting go not only of the compulsive need to "try" to make things happen, but also of the belief that there is some possibility that we don't deserve to connect with the divine. We are the divine. The only thing that keeps us from communing with it is us. We need to take the same blind faith we have that the sun will rise again tomorrow, that the winds of change will blow in the next season, and apply it to our own lives -- for it is our own lives. We need to trust that there's nothing we need to do in order to connect with the divine but to show up and be present with ourselves and trust that all will come out OK.

Maybe these old beliefs are surfacing because I need to see what barrier lies between me and really knowing and accepting my heart. And in opening my eyes to the truth that there is no such measure as "good enough", I can surrender to this journey of the heart and, like the leaves, go wherever the winds of change might take me.//

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