At 15 I was introduced to meditation. It seemed like a really important thing. I was told one should practice twice a day for at least 40 minutes at a time to get any value out of it. I sure wanted to do this, yet my skill set for taking on something that involved that much discipline was largely made up of mentally beating myself up, and that skill set was well developed.
A few times I had wonderful experiences sitting with groups. I started a personal practice over and over again, but sustaining it didn’t happen. For years I thought it was because I didn’t want to do it enough, or I was lazy, lacked discipline and in short was a failure. Meditating was very, very important to me, and yet I wasn’t doing it.
Approaching my 41st year I recognized that I believed the Universe (substitute the appropriate word for you where I have used ‘Universe’) wanted me to mediate. It just made sense that the Spiritual aspect of Being wanted me to meditate, wanted me to have the benefits of that experience and wanted those benefits to be extended to others.
When I’m gifted with a greater level of understanding, a bigger perspective I want to do something to acknowledge that. It doesn’t make sense to me to notice the experience then go on as if nothing happened. I decided that each day I was going to light a candle to acknowledge that I believe it to be true that the Universe wants to support me in moving forward in my life. I also decided that my deep desire to meditate, that had been sustained for over 20 years without having success, allowed me the right to claim that at heart I am a meditator – despite evidence to the contrary. I thought about a time when I was most likely to stop and reflect on these things for a half a minute or more. That became the time of day for this practice.
Of all places, I chose the television as the spot for my candle. The idea was to make this as simple as possible and let go of trappings about how I should do it. Each morning for a week I lit the candle. Early the 2nd week I sat down on a cushion on the floor for 5 minutes observing my breath. I didn’t decide I should do this. It was just natural to extend the time of acknowledging awareness a little bit longer. The next week when I lit the candle I sat for 10 minutes. At the end of a month I was sitting for 20 minutes each morning.
That was 16 years ago. I have had a meditation practice ever since, and never have I asked myself to meditate for 40 minutes twice a day. The benefits that I’ve gotten from my single 20 minute sit are innumerable.
Somewhere along the way I identified with this idea that doing things in my life is up to me alone. Yet, I got so much farther on my desire to meditate when I took the time to acknowledge a loving support that I cannot define or accurately name. ‘Yes,’ I say to experiences that poke holes in that mistaken notion that I am an independent operator!!!