Things I thought about as I meditated this morning: working at the Corner Market in Lyons 30 years ago, what it was like to be 18, where my niece might land, my parents, what I needed to do next in my garden, cutting my toenails, what I want my yoga teaching to look like next year, the pain in my hip, how much I love the line of neon pink on the cuff of my new bathrobe, who else might be meditating at the same time as me, what was for lunch, if she would live long enough to go to jail, death.
You see, the point of meditation isn’t to “get good at it” so you don’t think so much, able to “empty your mind,” but rather meditation is seeing the way your mind works, observing it without judgment, learning to stay with yourself and hold your seat no matter what feeling or thought might arise, to see that your mind thinks and emotes — silly things and important things and beautiful things and horrible things — but to know you don’t have to run away with it. You see what it does and its grip on you loosens so you don’t get dragged around by it all the time, you don’t feel the need to act or agree or resist every time a thought or emotion arises. You also learn that your thoughts and emotions, the “story” you are telling yourself is not the real you.
It’s the observing and knowing your thoughts and feelings, not eliminating them that matters. This applies to growth and change off the cushion, beyond your practice as well. Instead of getting attached to the outcome, one can relax in the observation, the knowing, the awareness, and within that patient state, wisdom can spontaneously arise, a new way becomes clear.
This is what I have trouble with, the part where I have to be patient, where I have to sit and wait. I want to skip ahead to the revolution, live the change, and assume something is wrong with me when I don’t, when I can’t. Then I remember that I can’t skip steps. To get to where I’m going, I have to walk all the miles, live the inbetween. If I can trust that this liminal state is necessary, part of the process, I can relax into it, surrender. I’m composting.
Jill, this was just what I needed to read today as I tried once again ( for the umpteenth time!) to reboot my meditation practice. It is so frustrating that something so simple is so difficult to do on a regular (or even semi-regular) basis. Thanks again for your thoughts about meditation – I am encouraged to try once more tomorrow.
May your practice be easy and may you continue to be gentle with yourself. ❤