Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur



Filed under: Philosophy — Laura Moncur @ 12:51 pm

Last Saturday, I went to a meditation group. A beloved friend of mine is starting this group and she wanted people there that knew her and could give her some moral support. I was happy to attend just to help her, but I wasn’t really feeling like a meditation class would help me at all.

All my experiences with meditation fall into two categories. Sometimes I spend the entire time saying, “Stop thinking about things! Concentrate on your breath. In – Out – In I wonder what I should have for dinner. Stop thinking about things!” to myself. The other times, I fall asleep. Reaching that bliss of observing without judgment and concentrating on my body has been elusive. I usually find the most peace when I’m writing my journal or singing healing songs to myself. But I was there to be moral support for her. It didn’t matter whether I was successful at meditation or not. I was just there to help her out.

Not merely an absence of noise, Real Silence begins when a reasonable being withdraws from the noise in order to find peace and order in his inner sanctuary. Peter Minard

She opened the class, we introduced ourselves and she gave us some basic instruction. She told us that we would meditate for fifteen minutes, discuss our observations, meditate for fifteen more minutes and close the class. While we were meditating, we were supposed to be thinking of the word, Maitri, which is a Pali word for loving-kindness. If we get distracted by sounds, feelings from our bodies, or thoughts we are supposed to notice them and send them a bit of loving-kindness while we go back to concentrating on breathing out.

During the first fifteen minutes, my thoughts kept returning to the fact that we are going to have to discuss our observations. My mind kept preparing opening words for the upcoming speech. But, hey, I’m just here for moral support. It doesn’t matter if my speech is good. Just forget it. Loving-kindness and back to my breathing. I found myself thinking about the food I had eaten just before the class: smokehouse almonds and an apple, yum! But hey, I’m just here for moral support. I don’t need to think about breakfast. Loving-kindness and breathe out. I had a glimpse of a vision of a sci-fi scenario in which rooms of people are meditating together to stave off the invasion of the baddies. Loving-kindness and breathe out. When is the gong going to strike? Has it been fifteen minutes. This feels just like when I had to stay still during prayer at church when I was a kid. That was hard. Loving-kindness and breath some more. Gong.

Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882)

It felt like a long time, that first fifteen minutes, but not once did I scold myself for not meditating correctly. I didn’t swear. I didn’t curse. I was only there to be a support for my friend, so it didn’t matter if I meditated correctly. I was only there to help her, so I just needed to be quiet and calm for fifteen minutes.

Almost everyone spoke of their observances while meditating. I found that even among the experienced, their thoughts would wander. For some, it was a new experience to be in a group and they felt a special energy that was lacking when they meditated alone. That went right past me. If there was special energy in the room, it eluded me. Others were struggling with their thoughts as much as I did. We started the second fifteen minutes.

This time, I was able to go several seconds of just noticing my breath before my mind rushed in. It was so much easier. I had that dizzy feeling that comes to me when our Reverend is truly inspiring. It wasn’t there the whole time, but I had a glimpse of peace, which is more than I’ve ever experienced while meditating. Once again, it didn’t matter if I did it right because I was just there for moral support, and paradoxically, it helped me meditate better than I ever had before.

There is no need to go to India or anywhere else to find peace. You will find that deep place of silence right in your room, your garden or even your bathtub. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

When searching for peace, I still think that the best method for me is to go to the keyboard and write a few pages of my random and disturbing thoughts. No matter how disturbing they may be, they seem less so when they are on the computer screen, flickering ethereally. There are times, however, when journal writing isn’t enough. There are even times when not even singing healing songs is enough. When that’s the case, now I can fall back on a weekly meditation group. Of course, I’ll attend every week for moral support, so it won’t matter if I do it wrong.


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