Many years ago, I became a meditator. I did not plan to become a meditator, or even really want to – I was one of those intense rational types who believe that if something is worth doing, it worth doing with a lot of hard work and stress involved. That pattern probably started in my childhood; I know it was part of my adolescence and college years, and by my 30’s it was not only deeply ingrained, but also making me pretty sick. Something had to change, and a doctor told me firmly that I needed to work with a teacher and learn to meditate.
And it was hard. I describe my first effort at Transcendental Meditation, just sitting quietly for ten minutes, as feeling like there were scratchy creatures trying to get out of my head – if I had not been under doctor’s orders, I probably would have given up then and there. But I persisted, and gradually, change happened. People around me noticed I was not as reactive, and I began to regain some of the resilience that I needed to live my life in a healthier way.
To meditate, to let go of the planning and problem-solving brain even for a few minutes, takes a deep level of trust …. Trust that nothing will hurt me if I drop my vigilance, trust that the world will keep turning if I don’t push it, trust that there really is enough time for everything to get done even with a half hour shaved off at either end of the day.
Many of us live in times and circumstances for which our bodies were simply not designed. Our spaces are lighted and open for business in hours when earlier generations would have been resting or sleeping; much of life is set up with unreasonable deadlines and multi-taking shifts in focus that put us constantly on alert, generating a deep level of internalized stress that we have come to accept as normal.
In this holiday season, our busy world actually speeds up, with social engagements, year-end deadlines, and an intensity of expectation calling us to ever more frenetic activity. This is a time when darkness beckons us to slow down, to rest and dream; to become more internal in our focus. And so, in this season when we light candles in the dark, I remind and invite us all to trust that the world will keep turning without our pushing, to take some time to find our internal balance point, to let go and know that we are enough, just as we are, as we open our hearts the true peace of the season. May blessings abound – see you at UUCP!