Sunday, January 30, 2011

Meditation


As you might have read in previous blogs, I'm working my way through "Eat, Pray, Love" by Liz Gilbert and I love it, love it, love it with every fiber of my being. I've often wondered about the practice of meditation and what it really means. Obviously, it means different things to different people at various times in their life. To some, it likely means nothing. I've heard that prayer is when we speak to God, but meditation is when we listen for God to speak to us. I've never tried it, and that seems a travesty.

This morning I gave it a small attempt. I say 'small' because, in a room on one side of the house with three other people in the rest of the house and two dogs (one of which randomly burrows under the covers or walks across my chest), it's pretty difficult to even begin any sort of meditation process. My understanding of it is that I'm just supposed to empty my head of thoughts, sit silently, and just... BE.

Muy dificil, I tell you. Very difficult. First off, my body is not used to just 'being', nor is my mind, nor my soul. They are used to 'doing', and 'thinking', and 'running-around-like-a-headless-chicken'. Sitting for just one minute, a barrage of thoughts swept through my mind, while others lingered, and some break-danced. Gilbert calls this "monkey mind". Sometimes the meditating person needs to focus on a particular word or syllable and either chant it, or think it, while meditating. It helps to bring the mind to a still place. "Om" is traditional, but since it means nothing to me, I tried "Ru" which is Sanskrit for 'light'. (The word 'Guru' means darkness/light, which I find fascinating... Gurus are so named because of the removal of darkness from their lives and the replacement with light. Poetic, simple. I like it.) At any rate, I made my first attempt. After yesterday, I needed some light. A lot of it.

I mentioned in yesterday's blog that I knew my flaws and failures well, and it's true. I am impatient, selfish, unkind, controlling, angry, hateful, envious, cowardly, bitter, resentful, covetous, obsessive, defensive, rough, clumsy, sarcastic, manipulative, petty, nagging, loud, obnoxious, and I have a big nose. There is only one of those things I can't do anything about. The rest of them, I really need to work on.

How wrong could I possibly be? If this is the way I live my life, these are the thoughts that fill my head and the spirit inside of my heart, how can I profess to love God? How can I love other people? How can I teach others to love God if this is the picture of Him that I'm presenting to them? Because, as a Christian, my life is supposed to be a reflection of Him. My words, my actions, my reactions -- all are supposed to be a reflection of Him. God is love. And as cliche as it has become, there's a very real description of love in the bible that cannot be denied. Cliche doesn't always mean untrue -- just sometimes over-used and misunderstood.

Here are the descriptions of love in I Corinthians 13:
Patient
Kind
Not Jealous
Not Boastful
Not Arrogant
Not Rude
Not Selfish
Not Irritable
Not Resentful
Does Not Rejoice at wrong
Rejoices in Right
Bears all things
Believes all things
Hopes all things
Endures all things
Never Ending

How many of these definitions fit the Stephanie that I am? How many of these definitions are so far beyond my reach right now I can't even fathom what I would look like if I embodied them? Is it any wonder that I am so tired all the time? I'm carrying all of this around with me, all this darkness. It's weighing me down. 'Light' means more than one thing: It's the opposite of darkness, but it's also the opposite of heaviness. If I get rid of the darkness, I get rid of the heaviness.

Ru.

Today is day one. Sunday, the first day of the week. I said yesterday it's got to be better than last week -- but maybe the only way that will happen is if I endure it all with a different attitude. My days and weeks aren't likely to get easier -- sometimes I just have to choose my outlook and not let anything phase me.

Stephanie Jean

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