Chapter One: The trials and tribulations of meditation.
It’s early and it’s hot. The humid air sits on my skin making me sleepy even though I’ve just gotten up. I begin to meditate but my mind is busy solving everyone’s problems, minding everyone’s business. Finally, in desperation I begin a mantra meditation that Ram Dass suggests. Slowly, it takes hold.
“I am awareness. I am awareness. I am awareness.”
My shoulders soften and release. I hear the mourning dove’s soft call override the cardinal’s insistent chirp. A squirrel is furious at some other creature that is entering his territory. A plane drones overhead. There is no need to be anywhere else or to do anything. Contentment settles on my shoulders as my breath slows. I hear a bee moving from flower to flower. The sound is like an elongated buzzing Om.
With all this sound around me the silence grows deeper. I let the beat of my heart be heard.
I open my eyes and the grass has become a more vibrant green with the sun like a floodlight throwing the shadows of trees in deep relief. It is brilliant and soft at the same time. I feel like my skin has disappeared and I am no longer separate from the air, the heat, the birds. I am now truly awareness. The restless energy of earlier has dissipated leaving me softer and more open.
This is the peace of meditation. This is the real space that I dwell in when I let go of trying to fix everything. Here, in this awareness, I really exist. Here in this place of “not trying” I get what it is all about. I get how my life is supposed to be lived.
Life is about letting most things and people just be.
It is a relief to stop trying to change it all to fit my idea of how it should play out, to only be responsible for myself. I have to keep reminding myself over and over of that fact: I am only responsible for myself. Let others do what they need to do, be who they need to be. Just accept them and situations as they are. Then move on. Such a simple concept that it always amazes me how difficult it is to accept and live fully.
Even though I have no control over others and situations, I still slip into the mode of trying to change situations, to change people, which then leads me to dissatisfaction. I am living the reality of the Second Noble Truth: All suffering is a result of desire. And I am “desiring” that others change!
I really have to laugh at myself.
I have to laugh at it all.
I wish I could hold on to this, to this awareness, but I know it will fade. I know I will swing back to the everyday struggle of desire and attachment. It seems to be the human way of being, this struggling, this searching. And sometimes we wake up, if only for a moment or two.
So here I am, sitting in the middle of perfection. A morning that is bright and warm. Soon I will want to change something, and fortunately a small Carolina wren decides to sing so I hear her. My busy mind registers the perfection of her song and becomes—Yes!—Aware.
I look at my garden Buddha half-hidden by yellow roses and decide to sit as he does, in contentment, awareness and acceptance.
Me and the “Be.” Finally.
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Assist Ed: Dana Pauzauskie/Ed: Sara Crolick