“Mom, have you been meditating lately?” Really a sweet reminder, especially if I have enough awareness to take the cue and head to my spot.
Then what? Somehow, if I manage to sit down and gaze first at the inspiring pictures on my shrine, I am brought into a different place that reminds me over and over how beautiful and simple the practice of meditation can be.
Even when I discover I have been lost in the wilderness of my own thinking, a place that can at once be very exciting and yet on a deeper level quite lonely, isolating and separate, mindfulness and awareness are always present, available and accessible as soon as I turn my mind inwards.
Now that thick fog of self interest begins to dissipate and lift.
And I feel my true self begin to shine. Sometimes this process resembles the action of a rubber band being stretched between two fingers. The stretching out represents the true self breaking free through the practice of meditation and the rebounding represents the old habits of being lost in my head.
Just the other day I recognized that for the past few months I have been watching my mind tighten it’s grip on really wanting to have something, and then watching it tighten even more when I began to fear that I would not in fact be able to have what I so desired. Say for example, when you meet someone who makes you feel so amazingly whole and good, the tendency is to believe firstly that it is this other person who gives you these good feelings and secondly that to feel this way, you have to be with this person as much as possible. It is understandable that a deep desire is ignited and much thinking and distraction are devoted to creating time to see this person.
Then say, suddenly, this person goes away, without saying goodbye or giving any explanation, they are just gone. Poof!. What do you do with your desire? Does it remain? Or does it change into anger at the person for leaving without an explanation or goodbye? Perhaps it just dwindles away?
Whatever the course, I know that thoughts, desires and frustrations are always on the move, always changing in large part due to the circumstances that they are bound to.
I find this type of pattern repeats itself over and over again. And for me, the only true antidote is to bring myself back to the cushion or chair or hammock and to examine my mind and the process. This is the other side of the equation, the formula that helps me to break the rubber band cycle.
There is always an invitation to come and sit and examine my mind. Painful as it may be to steal myself away from the fantasy, the practice of mindfulness, which is the beautiful result of the mind’s ability and capacity to examine itself, opens up the possibility for freedom from the habitual torment of thinking too much. Applying a light awareness to breathing in and breathing out, or gazing upon picture that evokes peacefulness, each can lead to the space between thoughts and breaths, the space where our life flows. At these moments I have to ask myself, where is that desire now? Where is the frustration? I find them to be logged into the files of the past moments, hours, days and years. But they are not here, not now.
So sweet to be finally home.