Thursday, 27 March 2014

Fighting through the clutter to find meditation

Three days ago, I rebooted my meditation practise after years of neglect.

I knew how much it mattered. What a difference it makes. And yet, I let it slip until it was just a distant memory of what I "used to do."

Three days ago, that changed. For the first time in years, I sat down and rediscovered why I used to meditate. And it was wonderful. That day. And then the next.

But then today, reality hit -- hard. At first, nothing was different.  I sat down and closed my eyes. I crossed my legs into a lotus and linked my thumb and finger.

The usual stream of thoughts came by, and I acknowledged them and went back to counting breaths. That was when the baggage replaced the stream. Suddenly, my mind was a discordant cacophony of every bad decision I ever made. Every time I behaved badly or spoke without thinking. Every time I let someone down. It felt like I was getting slammed up against the proverbial wall by everything I had ever done wrong. I felt like the worst person on the planet.

I struggled to regain control of my meditation. I counted...or tried to. I  visualzed each number being written on a blackboard, a technique that has worked in the past to get me back on track.

And then, thank goodness, it finally stopped. Or at least that deep dive into the worst of my past stopped. Immediately,a new stream of negativity started. It was the to-do lists. The chores. The job hunt. The projects. The clients. All the should's and have-to's. All the things I OUGHT to be doing right at that moment instead of sitting and meditating. Again, awful!

But I stayed with it. I kept trying to count. I tried to acknowledge and let each thought go by. Nothing worked. Nothing!

Until... I started  to focus on the here and now...the feeling of the breeze. The sound of the cat walking past. The sensation of sitting.

And then it happened. All the negativity stoppped. Just as suddenly as the bombardment started, It stopped.

Whatever it was in me that needed to dredge up all of that ugly dirt and guilt gave up. The peace returned. Thoughts still came by, but they were gentle and random, and quickly moved past. I was not stuck in the past. I was not trying to manage the future. I just was. Finally.

And THAT, that moment of now-ness is the reason I have come back to meditation. The bad stuff can happen only any day. It can happen while you're driving down the road or drifting off to sleep or just watching TV.  It can happen when someone says the wrong thing, or brings up an old hurt.

But the good? Yeah, that's something only meditation can deliver. And I'm so glad to be back.