I have a question for you. Do you know how meditation frees you? We are constantly being encouraged to meditate…especially now…it’s promoted as the way to balance our life, make us feel more joy and get through this challenging period with less trepidation. Well, that’s a tall order! And for those of you who have given it a try and found that you keep getting distracted, threw up your hands and declared that meditation is not for you….this next few minutes has your name on it!
It doesn’t matter if you’re the Dalai Lama or a brand new beginner, meditation follows the same pattern. Picture a line that starts from minute one and proceeds along a straight line to minute 20. You start off gliding along that flat line and then…oops …you’re off thinking about what you’ll make for dinner tonight. You catch yourself and come back to the ground…that flat line that some call The Ground of Joy or Equanimity. You might stay there for a few seconds and then off you go again wondering what your partner meant by what he/she said this morning. And again you catch yourself and come back to ground. This is the pattern for each and every meditator, believe me. Why? Because we’re human and there is no way we can stop our minds from thinking. That would be like asking our kidneys to stop working for 20 minutes…it’s just not the way we’re built. But here’s what we will find if we stick with it. Over time, the duration, frequency and intensity of our distractions will lessen. We will always veer from the Ground of Joy but for less time, less often and with less intensity. And here’s where my initial question comes in.
How does this practice free you?
As you sit and notice the way your mind pulls you into the stories you have over-identified with, you will discover that same awareness will happen in the rest of your day…even when you’re not meditating. You will notice that when you start veering towards old attachments, you will simply change tracks. Your awareness will become more and more attuned to the stories you have been telling yourself and the thought patterns that have kept you from being in joy. We don’t call it a Practice for nothing.
You are practicing the art of awareness!
So of course it feels great to float along on that river of Joy, but the most important times during meditation are those peaks—-those times you poke yourself in the ribs and say, “There I go again!” And you bring yourself back with fierce gentleness to your centre….over and over. As a result, you will eventually spend more time in that Equanimity during meditation and you will find more freedom from your old patterns during the rest of your day. Meditation will gradually free you!
So if you’re a beginner, give it another go…gently…with all of this in mind. And if you’re been meditating for years, keep it up and recognize the changes this practice has brought to your life. Enjoy your freedom!