I couldn’t resist a quick Youtube link and I am listening to this play as I write:
Some people may have a wrong idea about meditation practice as being a kind of relaxing escape from the realities of life.
It certainly can have this aspect. We can also go for a walk to relax, or we could go for a run to exercise. Both forms of movement are possible.
There is an aspect of meditation where we deliberately choose to sit with the agitation, ‘negative’ feelings, wandering thoughts and patiently endure.
‘Patient endurance’ can have different flavours. Here are three of them.
- There are times for teeth gritted persistence. Not perhaps as a ‘go to’ strategy or response, but available. We sit straight in meditation to develop backbone. Life as it comes down the river is not always pretty, comfortable and ‘nice’. Sometimes you and I will need to have our line in the sand, whether that is in regard to the actions of others or our own compulsive and deluded thinking and feeling.
- Sometimes we can sit with a strong feeling and ‘offer it up’. Sit without running away, feel what is present without retreating or moving forward, and then ‘offer it up’, ‘let go’ – what ever metaphor works for you. Do it and then return to the present… and repeat.
- Sometimes (if the feeling is not too strong, or perhaps so strong there is nowhere else to go!) we can just be present with what ever is happening inside and outside. This might be more of a daily practice experience. It also blends nicely into walking meditation – for when bits start too ache to much or just go numb!
So there are three ways we can deliberately practice meditation to relate to our thoughts and feelings in a less compulsive and hopefully wiser manner.
Training is useful as a resource we can then draw on for the harder and less comfortable edges of Life. In my view, deliberate and reflective practice makes a difference to our overall experience of life and the benefit we are to both ourselves and the world we live in and co create.
So, please consider the role that deliberate practice may have in your life and your schedule and do let me know in the comments what this might mean to you!