Tuesday, May 12, 2015

on meditation and the home address

A lot of people who have never meditated naturally wonder what to expect.  When trying any new activity, we like to have some sort of idea what we are in for.  There are a lot of ways to answer this question.  When it comes to meditation, and particularly mindfulness meditation, my mind always seems to conjure up the sweet and gentle image of Dr. Rina Sircar.  Every month Rina used to have a day long sitting, and every month there was a different topic or focus.  One month it would be "How to Deal with Difficult Emotions."  Another month it might be, "How to Resolve Conflict." She would focus on "How to Live Artistically,"  "Stress Reduction," "Finding Peace in a Frantic Life,"  "Having More Satisfying Relationship." It seemed like every month there was a different topic.  But the interesting thing was, every month it was the same meditation.  Yes.  Every month it was the same meditation.

Recent psychological research supports more and more of what Rina was asserting.  This research implies that meditation helps with stress, depression, anxiety, ptsd, relationships.  I hesitate, not wanting to imply that meditation is a panacea, but it does seem to bring a healthier perspective to many aspects of internal and external life.  It changes our relationship with ourselves and those around us.

As such, Rina would sometimes jokingly yet truthfully say that meditation took us right past the 7-11 and directly to the Safeway.

I also hesitate to mention these possible expectations of meditation because the pure and easy flowing stream of meditation finds a different course for every person.  For some, the terrain revealed might be very different, or in a differnt sequence than for another.  So there is always the concern that if a person doesn't find the suggested change or sense of relief, that they might think they are not doing it right, or that this perceived "failure" indicates that there is something wrong with them.  So please, forget everything I've just written.   Forget about the possibilities, the expectations, the research.  (I'm also stating this in a joking yet serious way.)  It is often prescribed to put away any expectation, to meditate simply for the sake of meditation.

I might add that, what I have seen, heard, and experienced at almost a universal level from people I've talked to is that when they have meditated consistently and studiously for an extended period of time and then quite for while - they miss the meditation.  It's hard to pinpont what is missing, but the acknowledgement is that something of value has seemed to have drifted away.

In recent weeks I've been contemplating how to answer the question of what to expect.  For me, putting all the teachings and research and jargon aside, what I find is that meditation leads me closer to home.  This is not the home which we were born to a set of parents and possibly siblings.  For many folks this kind of home is unfortunately one to which they would not like to return.  The home I am referring to is an internal place.  That's all I can or want to say.  Any more and words will get in the way.  Any more and concepts might lead us astray.  (hey.  that rhymes.)

Just saying it helps me feel what I'm wanting to say.

Meditation leads me closer to home.

Meditation leads me closer to home.

Meditation leads me closer to home.