I spent a few hours yesterday immersing in and sharing the practice of meditation with a small circle of people. We explored through sounds and chanting, breathing and Being breathed, moving and Being moved, guided inquiry, and the home ground of stillness and silence itself. We explored meeting and welcoming all of the changing objects of life, and likely most also experienced being absorbed within changing realm for periods … beliefs, memories, stories, and emotions. Along the way there may have been moments or longer where we experienced something fresh, almost without reference to a past or a future. Perhaps we felt how the changing objects are always arising within an unchanging and unmoving experience. Many names have been given to this over the course of time: Being, Presence, Awareness … Essence. Ultimately the words are only pointers to an experience that is exquisite, and at the same time easily missed, yet always here.
To the degree that I have experienced it, in that realm of the unchanging I have felt something that is restful, whole, at ease and not lacking. I am not defined by that which has felt broken or unworthy. The urgencies of life seem to fall away, while life itself feels more full than it ever has in the moments of doing and achieving. Life feels like a gift even in the midst of circumstances that might be challenging or difficult. In the words of Parker Palmer, there is a hidden beauty and wholeness in all of it. This unchanging realm brings with it the opportunity to meet all of those accumulated human experiences, the joys and the sadness, the pleasures and the pains. There is space for all of it to be seen, heard and felt, rather than being denied, avoided, or minimized. This has been incredibly healing for me.
Meditation is no longer just a thirty minute period of my day. It is a daylong and lifelong practice of simply paying attention; Being Awake and at times asleep to the myriad movements of life, and in the moments of grace, Being the Awakeness itself.