I’m beginning to see my meditation practice primarily as one where, every day, I lose momentum, entirely if I can. Where the things I’m working on, excited about, moving away from and towards all get to disappear. How long they disappear doesn’t matter. It only takes a tiny little snip in an electrical wire to shut the whole thing down.
What I often experience is a resistance before I start. I know that’s a common story. And I—we—know that 10 minutes out of a day is nothing, even for someone very busy, to sit in meditation (if that even appeals to you, of course), so it’s not a logistical thing as much as a … what?
I used to try to get myself in the game, so to speak, with a kind of pep talk, like oh okay, meditation is good for me and I’ll feel so much better and be less anxious if I do this every day. While that seems to be true, largely, that didn’t have much sticking power.
And of course it didn’t. The same threads of conditioning that are going somewhere (and god bless those; I have nothing against going somewhere in this life, from growing my business to being more happy … hell yeah to all of that; getting stuck in the non-dual “there’s nowhere to go” is, for me, quite nauseating, and boring at the least) … Those same threads are, while drawn to meditation as a technique to be happy, are also, and probably more so, terrified because when I sit, really sit quietly and let everything fall away, then those threads, too, disappear.
It’s a very similar feeling, and sometimes accompanying fear, that I remember from my sabbatical. I’d shared this with some of you, but the image I had before leaving on sabbatical was that I was tending a forest, feeling like I had all this gardening to do every day to keep it healthy and alive.
And I didn’t know if that was true, or what parts of it were true, that it needed my attention. (Because, of course, a forest grows just fine on its own. A vegetable garden needs more tending. Depends on what we’re talking about. Again, it felt and still feels important to not just jump into either camp of “you’ve gotta tend to your life!” or “it’s all happening either way so just let it go.”)
So I went on sabbatical, to leave the forest and come back in a year, and see what was growing just fine without me. (To make the metaphor clear: the forest is stuff I am interested in, to learn, practice and teach.)
Back to meditation. That same letting go. I think the big kicker and realization is feeling how much I’d been sitting down, saying “okay, great, time to let everything go,” not realizing the voice that was SAYING that was, indeed, the very thing that most decidedly does not want to be let go.
It feels, to that energy in me, like death. And, in a pretty real way, it is.
And it’s funny … even as I type this I am aware of saying what are now some well-versed spiritual clichés. “Just let go.” “Find out who is the seeker.” Both fine pieces of advice, I suppose. It’s interesting, always, 1. how realizations unfold in their own pace and time, and 2. how the same insight can return again, and again and again, and each time be just as fresh and true, and 100%, relative to where I’m at in my life.