Meditation can be described in infinite ways to equally infinite ends. I won’t even try to recount that list. What feels clear after years of exploring is that rather than adding to our list of often unrealistic ideals, meditation is a way to simply be real. It is a way to see how I am apart from the ways I hope to be. It is a way to make room for that too. I am a believer of more is not always more. More can be less and sometimes simply overwhelming. Weighing myself down with a long list of spiritually good-looking intentions and ideals can be a sure-fire way of, well… just weighing myself down. Instead, meditation allows me to recognize how I am and subsequently how you are and how we are, along with and apart from, the best of all our intentions.
Like many things, when we begin exploring something new, we have expectations and plans for how we hope things will look on the other side. Meditation is no different. Though it has taken a while, I have learned that there really is no other side. It is all, always right here, in this moment, on this path. At any point I may be close to or far from expectations. I may be the parent that remains attentive and compassionate or the one that in a moment pushes a child, accidentally too hard, to the floor. Meditation is not thinking that this is not the path. Meditation is about including the path in all of its forms, beautiful and ugly. Anything short of that is another way to reject pieces of our own humanity and feel less than whole. I have heard it described before, that our wholeness has room for all the holes.
How in the world do we do this? We pause, recognize what’s arising in this moment and then feel through our bodies. Repeat and recycle. Since this process is not always easy, we take time before, during and after meditation to nourish ourselves. We might bring to mind something that evokes a feeling of ease and well-being. For some it might be through prayer or resting our attention on a symbolic figure. For others, perhaps feeling the ground beneath us, the unfolding universe above. There are countless ways of nourishing ourselves into the moment.
That’s all for today. I am not advocating passive resignation or foregoing intentions. I am simply saying that some days we are there and some days we just aren’t. It is all part of the circle of growth, if we can learn to include it.
I’ll leave you with a little humor from Jack Kornfield. Perhaps it will resonate with you as much as it does with me.