Every month, Meditation For evolutionaries hosts an online meditation gathering. Synchronicity being what it is, this dovetails nicely with a post Sage and Starshine made recently, on meditation and druidry.
I’ve been doing my best to meditate daily for a while now. It’s hard to make time, but the more I manage to do so, the easier it gets. I guess that’s the meaning of practice ;). I find that it’s easy to skip, but harder to climb back on the horse, so to speak, so finding those points where I can go either way has become a practice in itself.
When I was a deckhand, I used to go into work early. Public transit being what it is, it was easier and more pleasant to take the early BART/bus and get there before it was light. I could see the stars, and the slight lightening of the sky to the east. I’d go aboard the loneliest boat in the fleet and do my morning yoga, and then sit on a stool, my back against a bulkhead. There by the waterline I could hear the waves slapping against the hull and the occasional shouts of swimmers in the lagoon. Already quiet from the stretching I’d done, I’d look at the time and set a timer on my iPod. Time depended on how much I had left before the morning muster, but it was usually a solid fifteen minutes at least. I’d drift into the coolness of the steel around me and out across the water, and be a part of everything.
When I got hurt and had to give up the deckhand job, I lost that. By the time I get to work now the Park is open, and the ships are largely closed to me now. I tried getting up early at home, but it just didn’t work. A cup of coffee in bed and the cats lying around me were just too seductive. For a long time I drifted. Even going back to the Nyingma Institute where I’d taken my first meditation course, and taking another, didn’t help.
I could keep up my yoga by switching it to the end of my day rather than the beginning, but yoga is an immediate necessity. If I don’t do it daily, my physical issues get worse and worse, and I will end up unable to work.
Meditation is just as necessary, but the problems caused by skipping it are more subtle and don’t affect my actual ability to work. They just make life grayer and more chaotic. It’s more like losing a subtle superpower than normal functioning. Though really, what is “normal?”
I finally got back on track by doing a meditation challenge given by Deepak Chopra, of all people. For 21 days, I had to meditate every day. Very good mind candy, the meditations were online, free, and had great leaders and beautiful music. Why did this work when nothing else did? Hell, I don’t know. In college, I finally stopped biting my nails by wearing black nail polish. But by the end of the challenge, meditation had indeed become a habit again. I went back to my old practice, and am in the process of working out some Druid twists to it. Kind of like improvising a harmony to the melody below. When I stumble, there’s always the solid Tibetan underpinning to fall back on.
This once a month meditation is a different animal, however. 50 minutes of meditation is a long time for me. But the questions asked benefit from a good long period of reflection. Thinking, for example, on why I am sitting here at all, is very basic. But it cuts to the heart of practice and presence. They ask it every month, and I get to a deeper refinement of my own answer each time. There are many reasons, after all. But underlying them all, for me, is something that ties them all together. If you meditate, what is it for you? Is it self-development, service, a bit of peace in a chaotic world? If you don’t, and want to, why do you want to? What do you hope to get out of it?