Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Meditation adventures

Sometimes an experience will be so vivid that I just am on fire to write it here! That is the case with a recent meditation experience I had. Then life intervenes and, for example, I'm not home till after 9 o'clock in the evening and think, I can always write that tomorrow. Then, as more time passes and the memory is less vivid, I start having doubts. Why should I write that? Whatever will people think?? What was I thinking?

If you know me at all, you know that I quickly cast those cares aside and write it down anyway. I hope every writer does the same. That little doubting voice is just the ego yammering away, and it does not understand what is really important, so listen to it patiently and lovingly, and then let it go. I am writing that down the way I imagine that Gil would describe it. Not that I necessarily am, personally, so gentle with my ego. Get out of here, ya blubbering idiot!

I think people want to hear our most convicted and passionate selves, and we should not keep this side under lock and key the way so many do. Even if convicted sometimes means crazy, out of her mind! It is scary to be vulnerable to criticism, negative reactions, and so on, though. That is why my ego is always so happy that so few are reading my blog, and that my two biggest fans really love me! It has one less thing to worry about, and it loves to worry. And, I always think too that this gives me time to develop as a writer to where, some day, I can write in a less rambling way that would actually be of use to more than a few very dedicated readers.

So, I was doing a 20-minute truck meditation in the middle of a stressful Monday at work. My meditation site, other than seated inside the truck, was Pecan Park, the site of the lately disastrous encounters with mosquitoes. So I cautiously cracked the window and watched and listened, because it was just too warm to be closed up.

This meditation went very well, if I can use that terminology of judgment to describe it. First, no mosquito problems! Yay! As always, it took a while to refocus and relax. By the way, one thing I will never be, during meditation, is bored. This is a revelation to me. I always thought it would be so dull to just sit, sit, sit. But in reality, there are so many things happening. Think of all the things just going on inside the body at any given moment, that are mostly automatic functions. Talk about multitasking! The body is superb at it. And then add all the sensory information that is available, even with eyes closed. Then the thoughts and feelings, how it is when they finally simmer down, and important thoughts are able to bubble up out of the relaxed mind.

This day, I became aware of something that I will try to describe as the "eternal present." It could also be presence. I often can sense the larger reality that is so much grander than me, and this time it was also a personal experience.

I am still in the center of my life experiences, I am sitting in the center, and like spokes all around me is my entire lifespan. Birth, childhood, adulthood, the unknown future. It is all present and accessible to me here and now. None of it has passed away. My mom and my sister and my other family members are very close, so accessible to me. Just like they are, all the time, except I am usually unaware of this. I am in rapture. This is the rapture. My cup is overflowing, and of course, tears just well up the way they do whenever I feel these overrunning emotions.

I know many, many other spiritual people have had this experience, and so have I before. It is like a time of communion with God where you can have a glimpse of how things are, of the great I AM. This is why Henri Nouwen longed for death, after having a near-death experience of becoming one with Christ. He could not understand why everyone was so cheerful that he recovered from being hit by a vehicle on the road. He described it as having to put on the heavy mantle of life again (I paraphrase). This was written in "Beyond the Mirror," which has to be a reference to the apostle Paul's statement that now we see in a mirror, darkly; then we shall see face to face.

This does not mean I'm ready to die! But I recognize that the spirit is more real than what we call our daily lives. It is more important, and I do believe that it is eternal. Time is a way of experiencing a mortal life on earth that makes sense to the mortal mind, but time does not constrict the life of the spirit.

So what is most important in life? Obviously, people. But I find it amazing that the most important experience of that day, for me, happened during meditation, when I was "alone" and doing "nothing."

Human contact is essential, and it is an important window to understand God and the nature of reality better. It is also important to the soul to have loving relationships with others and to be able to care for them in tangible ways. I suppose even human conflict has its place. But this experience has helped me understand that meditation is an important spiritual discipline, not a waste of time!

I don't expect to have a mountaintop experience every time I meditate, or even often. Those experiences will be as varied as life, or like the experiences I have running or exercising. Some days are great, some so-so, and some are the pits, and the goal becomes just getting through the rough spot.

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