Meditation Journey


sand dune path
For over a decade, I have had an approach/avoidance relationship with meditation.  At first I tried to read a book and listen to a tape on how to meditate.meditation instruction cartoon  Suddenly, it occurred to me . . . instead of following someone else’s directions and process, just be my spirit.  One of the first times I sat in meditation, just being my spirit,purple smoke I had the most amazing experience that words cannot begin to describe.  After that, I chased the experience . . . except I could never catch it.

Be my spirit. . . . Be my spirit . . . Be my spirit.  For a long while, that meant only one thing to me . . . make that AMAZING experience happen again.  Except I couldn’t make it happen again.  No matter what I tried, it wasn’t going to happen.meditation cartoon

gargoyleLet it go.  Just breathe.  Follow the breath . . . Inhale . . . Exhale . . . Inhale . . . Exhale . . . In . . . Out . . . In . . . Out . . . Nothing happened.  Time passed.  I breathed.  Nothing got done, internally, in my spirit or psyche, or externally on my to-do list.  What a waste of time!

Needing inner peace, solitude, inner connection, I kept getting the urge to meditate again.  So I sit and breathe . . . In . . . Out . . . In . . . Out . . . tick, tick, tick . . . time passes . . . time flies with girlnothing happens.

Mountain Reflections

Suddenly, a flash of insight changes everything.  I AM SITTING WITH GOD!!!  What else needs to happen?  That’s all that matters.

Being still in the presence of God.

ocean and sun

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Seeing the Obvious . . . There Is No Path!

nature_aha_momentHave you ever felt that huge shift inside yourself?  You know, that one people are calling the “Ah-ha Moment” where you understand something new, in a new way.  I had one of those moments just the other day.  It was huge!  LIFE CHANGING!  Perhaps?  Maybe?  Hopefully!  Well, we’ll see . . . .  It was interesting though.  When I went to tell a friend about my life changing insight that seemed so huge, what I said was nothing greater than . . . the obvious.  Who knows, maybe when we pay attention to the obvious, life changes.

So, in homage to my potentially life changing obvious experience, here’s a raw, unedited blurb from my journal . . .

“I just had the following insight, a deep experiential knowing, what some would call an  ‘Ah-ha moment’ . . .  Life – the meaning, purpose, point of life, experience of life, way of doing and being in life – is different for every person.  There is no butterflies escaping clockone way we’re suppose to do it, no one guiding principle.

Our task is to find - No, create our own authentic life, our authentic path, purpose, and way of being in the world.  This may seem to be so obvious, but it is hitting me in a new way, a very deep way.

I think we spend so much energy and experience so much struggle and grief as we try to be who/what we’re ‘suppose’ to be and/or we try to influence/control/force others to be the way we think they should be. I think we would have so much more inner and outer peace if we accepted and allowed ourselves to be unique and authentic, not having any expectations of self and others; just allow it all to unfold as it needs to for each person.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that after my ah-ha moment, I encountered the poet David Whyte quoting lines from a poem by the Spanish poet Antonio Machado (1875-1939):

mountainsPathmaker, there is no path.

You make the path by walking. no path in water

By walking, you make the path.

Emerson leave a trail

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Cluttered with Busyness

Life flies by at warp speed these days.  In a blink of an eye, the day is done, the weekend has come and gone again, another month, season, and year lingers as only a memory can before it fades away into “Which year was that? . . . It seems like only a moment ago.”

It’s so easy to set aside all that gives life meaning, purpose, and significance for all those “essential” tasks that fill up my todo list and clutters my life until there’s no time or space left for matters of the heart that nurture my soul.

While peace has remained within my consciousness, the laundry, email, work, paperwork, grocery shopping, cleaning, throwing the ball for my dear, sweet, obsessed dog, returning phone calls, and the kazillion other things that I never quit get done, fill up my life leaving me with an unsettling sense of inadequacy at the end of the day.

Clearing the clutter of busyness for moments to reflect, write, paint, be present with my beloved as we snuggle up together for a few extra minutes in the morning . . . . Moments of peace that fill my heart, leaving lasting footprints along the journey of my soul.  Ahhhh!

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Words Strung Together, Flapping in the Breeze

i

you

us

them

those people

wouldn’t it be lovely

if one could

live

in a constant state

of we?

some of the most

commonplace

words

can be some of the biggest

dividers

they

what if there was

no they?

what if there

was only

us?

if words could be seen

as they floated out

of our mouths

would we feel no

shame

as they passed beyond

our lips?

if we were to string

our words

on a communal clothesline

would we feel proud

as our thoughts

flapped in the

breeze?

Clothesline  – by Marilyn Maciel

as printed in the book Life as a Verb by Patti Digh

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What Drives Your Decisions?

 

Decisions, Decisions . . . . Which Way to Go?

What drives your decisions?  Have you even thought about it?  

Do you make your decisions based upon what is expected of you?  What happens if someone is not happy with your decision?  What about if one person or another is disappointed no matter which way you decide?  How about fear?  Does fear drive some of your decisions, either to avoid the feared situation, confront the feared situation, or to prove something to yourself or someone else?

Yes? No? How Do I Decide?

Recently, I had to make a decision in which I was pulled in many directions by a number of considerations.  Fear was a big driver for me.  How do I clear away my fear to make a sound decision?  Not wanting to disappoint or hurt people I deeply love and care about.  I can’t make everyone happy.  Deep soul searching, seeking the “right” answer.  There is no “right” answer and there is no “wrong” answer.  It’s a choice, yes or no.  I imagine yes and can feel the rightness of it, so I make a solid decision, I choose yes! . . . . Tightness grips me with complications.  I imagine no and can feel the rightness of it, so I make a solid decision, I choose no! . . . . Darkness of lost opportunity and disappointment swells inside me.  I ride the teeter totter up and down, yes and no, over and over and over again.

Soul Searching

How to clear away my internal junk to gain clarity?  What does life become if decisions and choices are based on making others happy?  It’s so easy to obliterate our Self in the service of making others happy, in the service of trying to be perfect, which of course, we can’t. 

Prayers in the shower seems to lead me to my moments of clarity.  Simple, heartfelt, prayer, then quiet openness.  The answer whispered its way into my being.  Peace, unshifting, solid feeling of peaceful rightness shining clarity in my heart.  With integrity, communicating the answer that brings disappointment . . . to myself and to others . . .  KNOWing the rightness of my answer . . . . to live in peaceful authenticity.

Peaceful Clarity

BE TRUE TO YOURSELF!

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Peace, Born of the Tension of Opposites

As my attention has been focused on PEACE through this Peace Project, I notice that everything that is “not peace” (e.g. violence, intolerance, war, injustice, hate, etc.) also captures my attention.  I consider myself to be a fairly open-minded, tolerant, somewhat progressive person who lives by my principles (not perfectly, but I aspire to do so as much as possible).  Well, I have an uncomfortable confession to make . . . . . Some of the “not peace” I have been noticing is not only “out there”, in other people and other places . . . . . . It’s “in here”, inside myself and in my own community.

This morning, a commentator came on TV to give his perspective (presented as FACT) about the alleged perpetrator of a recent act of violence.  “I HATE that guy” were the first words out of my mouth on this 12th day of my Peace Project.  Those words carry an energy of violence, not of peace.  I felt that violent energy inside myself. 

Carl Jung said, “The repressed content [of the mind] must be made conscious so as to produce a tension of opposites, without which no forward movement is possible. . . . . . just as high always longs for low and hot for cold, so all consciousness, perhaps without being aware of it, seeks its unconscious opposite, lacking which it is doomed to stagnation, congestion, and ossification. Life is born only of the spark of opposites” (in The Problem of the Attitude-Type).

In another paper, Jung stated ” . . . After violent oscillations at the beginning the opposites equalize one another, and gradually a new attitude develops . . .  The greater the tension between the pairs of opposites, the greater will be the energy that comes from them . . . [and] the less chance is there of subsequent disturbances  . . . ”  (In On Psychic Energy).

According to the New York Association for Analytical Psychology (NYAAP), “Jung further believed that anyone who attempts to deal with the problem of the opposites on a personal level is making a significant contribution toward world peace.” http://www.nyaap.org/index.php/id/7/subid/55

“Life is a series of pulls back and forth.You want to do one thing, but you are bound to do something else. Something hurts you, yet you know it shouldn’t. You take certain things for granted, even when you know you should never take anything for granted. A tension of opposites, like a pull on a rubber band. And most of us live somewhere in the middle. You could describe life like a wrestling match. So which side wins?  Love wins. Love always wins.” — Morrie in Tuesday with Morrie, by Mitch Albom

If I want to move towards peace, I have to continue noticing and wrestling with the anti-peace demons within myself.  We’ll see what energy emerges from my process of holding the tension of opposites and what is born of that energy . . . . Peace? . . . . Love? . . . . Hopefully! 

What opposites are you wrestling with inside yourself?

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Labyrinth Contemplation

Entering the Labryinth

Drawn to the labyrinth today, I walked it 3 times.  Fond memories of Zoey step by step into the labyrinth; love and peace to Zoey step by step out of the labyrinth. . . . . . . Peace in to myself on the inhalation of cold air into my body; breathing out peace to the world, to the Universe. . . . . . . . . Peace to those touched by the ripples of violence of recent events, not only to those nearby in our own country, but equally to those throughout the world. 

Step by Step

 

Step by step . . . . . . . . Step by step . . . . . . . . Step by step . . . . . . . . Contemplating Peace . . . . . . .

Not just one path, only one “RIGHT”, making all others “WRONG”. . . . . . . only sets us up to FIGHT for “RIGHT”, our view of “RIGHT”. . . . . . . . Leads to hardness, anger, intolerance, violence (even if only in our hearts).  Noticing my own “rightness” and how it puts me in opposition, angry, hard opposition, to others with another perspective.  Why not “AND, BOTH”, instead of “EITHER, OR”? 

Believe in Tolerance

Tolerance . . . . . . Openness . . . . . . . Softening . . . . . . Peace . . . . . inner AND outer PEACE.  Why is a different point of view, a different way, threatening? 

Where do your thoughts meander through the labyrinth of your mind?

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